Friday, November 12, 2010

Depression-Era Welfare Work in Riverside Park

Had you taken a stroll in Riverside Park on a chilly mid-November day in 1933, you might have noticed a group of local men working outdoors on the western bank of the onetime junk-lined park.

These were men receiving municipal welfare benefits. Before the federal welfare system, the city did what it could to provide money, food, and fuel to those in town who were in need. In this case, even the dead trees cut down this day in 1933 were salvaged for fuel.

The men cleared away the garbage and junk then-piled behind the Riverside Arts Center and St. Luke's Church, "where previously there were junk heaps . . . [t]he old tin, wire fencing, and auto parts have been hauled away . . ."

"The entrance to this new park is at the Ladies' Library, where last year a small rock garden and pool were constructed, with a winding walk down to the lower flats."

---November 15, 1933 Ypsilanti Daily Press

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