PITTSFIELD, Mass. – It’s been almost 90 years since president Franklin Delano Roosevelt put New Deal applications into motion, and a brand new exhibit on the Berkshire County Historic Society explores the affect that they had domestically.

“There’s actually such a wealthy historical past to it,” mentioned Erin Hunt, curator on the historic society. “It’s not one thing that you just essentially be taught in your highschool historical past class.”

What You Want To Know

  • The Berkshire County Historic Society has a brand new exhibit exploring the native legacy of the New Deal
  • The WPA had a number of applications within the county, together with the native library’s bookmobile
  • Many outside recreation spots nonetheless used immediately have been created by New Deal applications
  • The Berkshires’ trendy deal with tourism comes from the infrastructure constructed within the 1930’s and 40’s

Many Works Progress Administration applications have been energetic within the county, together with the Berkshire Athenaeum’s bookmobile, which ran till the Seventies, and the federal writers program, which produced a number of journey guides.

“It was actually type of to assist enhance tourism and provides individuals a way of issues to do,” mentioned Hunt. “One factor that I actually like concerning the Berkshire Hills information and the Massachusetts information is that there’s actually nice strolling excursions and driving excursions, and a few of them you possibly can nonetheless do immediately.”

One other impactful New Deal program was the Civilian Conservation Corps. It established a number of native recreation areas that are nonetheless used immediately, together with Bascom Lodge on the summit of Mount Greylock and the path system on the Pittsfield State Forest.

“There was no paths, there was no roads, it was utterly impassable,” mentioned Hunt about what’s now the Pittsfield State Forest. “Every thing that’s there now’s from the CCC.”

There have been widespread sewer and highway enhancements as properly, however for Hunt, the New Deal’s lasting legacy within the county is the deal with tourism and recreation.

“The Berkshires identification is that we’re nonetheless type of this vacation spot, this vacationer, second-home proprietor escape,” mentioned Hunt. “And most of that infrastructure was put in place through the 1930’s via the CCC, via these applications.”

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