Arthurdale is a historic district in West Virginia established in 1933 through Eleanor Roosevelt’s efforts. It was the nation’s first New Deal Homestead Community. The plan was to give poor West Virginia families a “new chance at life,” as it’s brochure states. The community included 165 homes, a co-op farm, health clinic, cemetery, inn, and schools. It operated until 1947 when it was sold off and in 1989 joined the National Register of Historic Places.

The Community Center

A fascinating concept Eleanor often visited dining, dancing, and chatting with the residents of the community. She was the driving force. It was said she even handed out diplomas at the Arthurdale High School graduations.

Here are some pictures from this interesting concept and visit.

The Forge and Administration Building

Volunteers have recreated the Forge Building to early times.

The Administration Building where the Project Manager resided is now a museum to the era,

with model homes and an original community map.

There even was a gas station outside the Administration Building.

Not bad for 1933!

The Inn across the street where Eleanor often stayed still stands. If only the walls could speak what fascinating conversation would be heard.

A typical home.

And the farm outside.

There is a small fee for tour but well worth it. Tour guides from a federal program give the tours and live in the homes. The gal who gave my tour is working on a Masters Degree. Eleanor’s reach is still extending into the 21st century.

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