'30s community celebration

Thursday, October 8, 2009


St. Cloud State University invites the public to travel back to the 1930s when President Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA was struggling to get people back to work. The 1930s Community Celebration will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12 at the St. Cloud Public Library.

SCSU’s Learning Resources & Technology Services is offering this free event in conjunction with programming for Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story, a Smithsonian documentary about the Federal Writers’ Project, a small unit of the WPA that created an enormous cultural legacy for the nation.

Event goers will have the chance to see and experience 1930s cultural opportunities such as old time radio shows, model trains, the Smithsonian documentary Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story, quilts and textiles, canned goods and photos of WPA sites in Central Minnesota. Local historians and enthusiasts will be around throughout the day to interact with viewers and answer questions about the many exhibits.

Several presentations will be offered:

10:30 a.m. -- Children’s 1930s storytime

11 a.m. -- "Gandydancers, Trains and Railroad Culture of the 1930s" Presenters from the S.T.A.R.A.I.L. (St. Cloud Area Rail Legacy Museum) group will share artifacts, information and stories about how trains were used in the 1930s and talk about "Hobo" culture during the Great Depression.

Noon -- "America Eats! Foodways of the Great Depression" What was is like to barter for food because you had no money to buy what you like? What did people eat before microwaves and frozen food were invented? When were vitamins discovered? How did people know what to eat before MyPyramid was here? Jayne Byrne, associate professor of Nutrition at CSB/SJU will discuss what people in Minnesota ate during the 1930’s, when there were no interstate highways to bring in food from the west and south, and most people had to "make do" with what they could find close to home.

2 p.m. -- "Stories from the Civilian Conservation Corp" Earhart Stich will share his experiences in the Civilian Conservation Corp, a program designed to conserve our natural resources and created as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal program. Steve Hennes of the Whitney Senior Center will also share some stories related to the WPA.

3 p.m. -- Quilting and textiles of the 1930s discussion. Shirley Krantz, a quilt-making teacher and employee at Gruber’s Quilt Shop in St. Cloud, will lead a discussion about textiles of the 1930s. Quilts, embroideries, crochets, patterns and other popular customs will be reflected upon.

The 1930s Community Celebration is free and open to all ages. For more information, please visit or call (320) 308-0146.

Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story is a major documentary television program about the Federal Writers’ Project produced by Spark Media, Washington, D.C., and broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel HD ( "Soul of a People" programs are sponsored by the American Library Association Public Programs Office with the support of a grant from the National Humanities: great ideas brought to life.

Holly Santiago, Project Director, Learning Resources & Technology Services, 320-308-0146,

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