The poor third class have fallen behind

Posted by | April 24, 2007

FDR’s government found itself in the business of real estate development during the early New Deal years. In 1933 Eleanor Roosevelt came to Scotts Run, WV to assess what she might do to improve living conditions of out-of-work miners and enable them to become self-sufficient. Two months later, The Resettlement Administration, Division of Subsistence Homesteads purchased the Arthur family farm in Preston County, and the first of the nation’s “stranded communities” projects was born.

The homes were built to three basic patterns and each one had its own land for gardens, with outbuildings and a root cellar. Arthurdale survives in remarkably good condition. A number of houses are still lived in by the families for whom they were built. Based on the success of Arthurdale, WV, over 100 such communities were developed across the country.

The Tygart Valley Homesteads at Valley Bend, WV and Dailey, WV were built in 1934-35 for workers likewise laid off from local mining and lumbering jobs. In Dailey there are several New Deal-era structures, including craft buildings and the stone trade center building, which was the community center for the homestead’s 160 or so homes. The lumber mill was constructed by the government and operated by the Kenoweth Corporation, to provide jobs for those living in the homestead dwellings.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division / Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection The Homestead School built for the project is still in service as the elementary school for the area between Beverly and Mill Creek. Some of the homes can be seen on the west side of the road across from the community buildings. The largest concentration is at Valley Bend, on the east side of the Pike.

Two other Appalachian projects listed in the same “stranded communities” category as Arthurdale and Tygart were Cumberland Homesteads at Crossville, TN and Red House at Red House, WV.

The first class passengers all sit still,
Second class passengers walk up the hill,
But the poor third class have fallen behind.
They push like the devil on the Coal and Coke Line.

“The Coal and Coke Line”
sung by Addison Boserman,
recorded at Tygart Valley Homesteads
April 1939


appalachian+history appalachian+culture history+of+appalachia appalachia

2 Responses

  • Deborah Carder says:

    Mr. Tabler, I just came across this by chance. I recently got a hold of my great grandfather’s violin and had it restrung and was thinking of him, Addison Freeman Boserman. I grew up hearing about him and his many talents, since he died one year before I was born. However, I do not have any recordings or copies of anything he did and was touched to see this exerpt. It was several years after I graduated from WVU that my family was even aware of the archives there. Can you perhaps inform me how I might obtain the above piece or others like it that were recorded? I see the date is 2007 and hope you are still actively viewing emails associated with this site. Most Sincerely, Deborah Carder

  • Dave Tabler says:

    Hi Deborah,

    I’m very much actively viewing comments on the site! If you go to the site homepage you’ll see the most recent post was yesterday.

    The quote about your great grandfather came from page A-25 of John Alexander Williams’ book “Appalachia: a history.”

    I don’t have any further info I can provide you with on your great grandfather, but I’ll bet if you get in touch with Mr. Williams he might be able to shed some light on resources you could turn to.

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