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Sidewalk Begun At So. Deerfield

FERA Project Recalls Start of Similar Work in 1869

SOUTH DEERFIELD- The sidewalk project which is one of the items on the FERA program from the $2000 allotment given to Deerfield for November, has created unusual interest. The sidewalk starts at the driveway of the home of Edward Rice and it is hoped will extend to Sprout's Crossing.

About 65 years ago Mrs. Samuel Billings, mother of the late Charles Billings and grandmother of Mrs. Edward Dodge and George Billings, went on a visit in Canada. On her return Mrs. Billings aroused the interests of her neighbors to better the town by the building of a sidewalk such as she had seen on her visit.

The neighbors met together including some of the following families: Sprouts, Baldwins, Phillips, Jacksons, Billings and others. A "sidewalk association" was formed with officers. Every August a "sidewalk dinner day" was held. The men gathered with teams, shovels and energy and labored strenuously first building and then later filling in with gravel to prepare for the winter. This day was looked forward to by young and old. The women set the tables under the trees and served a tempting meal after which reports from the association were read.

This lasted for many years. Thus the embryo of the sidewalk had started in 1869 now to be carried on. It is noticeable that although the women were supposed to be more home loving than the modern women, civic pride was uppermost in their mind then as now.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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label levels:

There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: Some work projects taken over by the New Deal began before the Roosevelt Administration came into office and even before the Great Depression. In this case, a sidewalk construction project in Deerfield has its roots in the nineteenth century. The article describes how a group of local volunteers created and maintained the sidewalk as a social event. The August "Sidewalk Dinner Day" was not at all unusual in its time, By the 1930s, however, public employment financed by taxes was replacing such "volunteerism". The FERA in the headline refers to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The FERA, which gave federal grants to states, was the main unemployment relief program of the early New Deal. It was replaced in 1935 by the more famous WPA.


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"Sidewalk Begun at So. Deerfield" article from Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette
date   Nov 16, 1934
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   5.25"
height   7.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
accession #   #L08.029

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See Also...

"Local Council of Unemployed Has 230 Members" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Start New Gypsy Moth Campaign" article from Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

"Share the Work Campaign Gets Under Way at Meeting" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette Newspaper

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