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Arthurdale

Trip Planner USA  /  West Virginia  /  Arthurdale
Historic Sites
Arthurdale is an unincorporated community in Preston County, West Virginia, United States. Arthurdale was named for Richard Arthur, former owner of the land on which it was built, who had sold the land to the federal government under a tax default.Arthurdale was the first of many New Deal planned communities established under Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. It was intended to take impoverished laborers, farmers, and coal miners and move them to a modern rural community that would allow them to become economically self-sufficient.The idea for such a self-sufficient community originated when Eleanor Roosevelt learned through her friend, Lorena Hickok, of a plan to relocate a group of West Virginia coal miners to a nearby farm with the intention that they could combine subsistence farming with simple industries to reclaim their economic footing. Mrs. Roosevelt was so passionate about the concept that she brought it to the attention of her husband, who decided to place the project under the direction of the United States Department of the Interior.Construction and growthConstruction began at the end of 1933, and from the outset it was clear that the Arthurdale community had become one of Eleanor Roosevelt's chief priorities. She intervened with Interior Secretary Harold Ickes and with others to ensure that the Arthurdale homes were built with modern necessities such as insulation and indoor plumbing. Eleanor personally chose the refrigerators that went into each home. For some time she acted in the capacity of a micro-manager for Arthurdale, contacting people who could help bring jobs to the community, raising money and awareness, even monitoring the budgets with a close eye. Roosevelt spent most of her own income on the project in its early years; philanthropist Bernard Baruch was also a major contributor.
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