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The Legacy of Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA in Florida

Event Date:

February 20 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Highlands Hammock State Park
5931 Hammock Road
Sebring, FL 33872


Carla Sherwin
(239) 560-3665

Program Description:

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was on one of FDR’s most wide-ranging, yet controversial programs to put people to work during the Great Depression. Many saw it as a “make work’ program which did not accomplish its goals – the acronym was derided as “We Piddle Around.” The buildings, bridges, dams, power plants, schools, parks, forestry and conservation projects that were completed during the 1930s and 40s constitute a significant and cultural infrastructure that is now largely taken for-granted. Perhaps even less well known are the New Deal initiatives that included art, photography, film, literature, music and theater.

Roosevelt scholar David Schmidt looks closely at the WPA and uncovers the evidence indicating this program was tremendously successful, as even today, Floridians still use and enjoy the buildings, constructions, and murals created by the WPA. One mural originally created for the Sebring Post Office by Charles P. Knight, now hangs in the Sebring Public Library. This program views the WPA and focuses on the still existing projects.

David Schmidt is currently the curator of the State of Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring. Before that, he taught for 37 years focusing on United States History, Geography, and Special Education. He holds two masters degrees from Ball State University in Special Education and United States History and did additional study at Michigan State University, Indiana University, Bowling Green State University, and two summers of research at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York.

Parking will be available in the overflow fields at the campground entrance. ADA handicapped accessible parking is available at the park recreation hall. The lecture is free and park entry fees are waived after 6:00 pm.