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.
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