Saturday, November 12, 2016

October 8, 2016
     The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was formed in May of 1935 and it was dissolved in June of 1943. During that brief span of time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal agency put 8.5 million mostly-unskilled men (and a lesser number of women) to work constructing public buildings, roads, public parks, and airports. 
     The wages were low but times were hard, and at least it was an income. Women were consigned to even lower-paying activities such as sewing, bookbinding, caring for the elderly, school lunch programs, nursery school, and recreational work. Ellen Woodward, director of women's programs in the WPA, pushed for women's inclusion in the Professional Projects Division, where women were treated more equally to men, especially in the federal art, music, theater, and writers' projects.
     Cedar Forest in Lebanon (Wilson County), Tennessee, was beginning to take shape in the early 1930s, and the beautiful Cedar Forest Lodge (which still serves visitors today) was built during the span of the mid-1930s into the early 1940s. Cedar Forest Lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Cedars of Lebanon State Park is an active, busy place with a huge variety of activities which take place the year 'round.
     WPA DAY was begun at Cedars of Lebanon State Park several years ago in tribute to the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC) and the men and women who worked so hard to establish the many roads, buildings, parks, and recreational outlets throughout America that we still enjoy today.
     The most recent WPA Day was held on October 8, 2016, a bright and sparkling autumn day. Activities were spread out all over the park, especially around the Lodge. Here are some of the activities which took place throughout the day: a cornbread cooking contest, arts and crafts, demonstrations of weaving, chair-making, blacksmithing, wood shingle-making, and soap-making. There were pottery makers, basket weavers, split-rail fence makers, a cross-cut saw contest, and traditional music by a variety of local musicians who are keeping old-time string band music alive.
     For information about WPA Day and Cedars of Lebanon State Park, contact Wayne (Buddy) Ingram, Park Manager, at or at (615)443-2792. You may also wish to contact the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon State Park at
     Here are some photos from WPA Day of October 8, 2016. Why not make plans to go to WPA Day in 2017?

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