Daviess County’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects started with a bang in November of 1935, the number working reaching nearly 300 men and 53 women in just the first three days. This injects a $10,000 a month payroll into the local economy. The busiest individual in Daviess county is no less than C.K. Connell, local hardware dealer and WPA supervisor.
Mr. Connell then received word from the office of A.R. Hendricks, WPA director in Northwest Missouri, to put every eligible man in the county, as far as possible, to work on the six approved projects. Consequently, workers, crushers, picks and shovels, sewing machines, etc., are going at full steam ahead.
Mr. Connell estimated the monthly payroll in the county will be $10,000. Unskilled laborers can work 130 hours a month and receive in pay $32. Special workers draw $38. Foremen are paid $100, time-keepers $80. A special call for 24 trucks and drivers was made by Mr. Connell Monday, and these drivers, who furnish their own trucks, are paid $1.05 an hour.
The six projects, listed by their WPA number, and location, follow:
Project No. 754 — Improving road, south from No. 13. This project starts at the R.B. Trotter corner, from No. 13, and goes south for approximately 1-˝ miles.
Project No. 757 — Improving road, leading from No. 13, south of Gallatin, a distance of 4,750 feet, nearly a mile, to the W.G. Harlow corner.
Project No. 758 — Improving road through Grand River township. Starts at SK road at the Pogue corner, and goes west to Jameson, approximately six miles, and then west from Jameson to the Mills bridge at the Marion-Grand River township line, a distance of about two miles. This is an eight mile project. Dewey Smith is foreman.
Project No. 787 — Improving road from Lock Springs north to the end of the special road district, a distance of about 2˝ miles.
Project No. 772 — Quarrying, crushing, spreading crushed stone on streets of Gallatin.
Project No. 764 — Improving a road in the northeasterly direction, starting from SK, about a mile north of the Pogue corner, and leads to the Lincoln Township line, a distance of 4.2 miles.
Daviess County was among many other counties to receive WPA funds. The building of the roads above was given first priority for the use of these funds. Workers for the road had their name taken from the employment register at the courthouse. They were given 130 hours a month for working time and they received approximately 25 cents per hour for unskilled labor. Money was allotted to each town on the basis of population. Funds for street improvement ranged from a low of $6,900 for Lock Springs and Jameson to a high of $35,810 for Gallatin.
Money was allotted to town school districts, on the basis of enrollment, for the repairing, repainting, altering and modernizing school buildings. The allotments ranged from a low of approximately $2,000 for Civil Bend, Carlow and Lock Springs, and a high of approximately $9,000 for Gallatin.
The city of Gallatin submitted three requests, namely graveling of streets, extension of water mains, improving Dockery Park along with the building of new bleachers. The proposals would have the WPA pay for all the labor and also for 30% of all materials.
— reprinted from the Gallatin Democrat, November 1935 issues, researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin