“Yep! He sure did!” *giggle*
What in the world is she giggling about, I thought. Oh well, whatever.
“Cool! I’m going to do some research and figure out what he did.”
“Help yourself.” *giggle*
So I did.
- a U.S. citizen
- 18 years of age
If a person met the requirements AND was confirmed to be “in need” by a WPA-approved public relief agency in the local area, he or she was placed in a project based upon previous experience. Pay was based upon location, prevailing wage and the individual’s ability.
As I dug into figuring out what he did, I found a particularly helpful website entitled The Living New Deal. Not that the National Archives wasn’t/isn’t helpful, it is. I just found what I was looking for a LOT faster at TLND. It allows you to search WPA projects by state and locale.
There, on the second page of “West Virginia” information, a little ways down, I found it!
“Post Office – Alderson WV
The historic post office in Alderson, West Virginia was constructed with federal Treasury Department funds. The building, which was constructed in 1936, is still in service.”
I quickly called my mother to tell her about my find.
“Hey Mom! I found out what Granddaddy did for the WPA!”
“You did?” *giggle*
What is with the giggling already? I wondered.
Not to be sidetracked, I plunged ahead.
“He helped build the post office!” I announced proudly.
It continued for a full 30 seconds.
Finally composing herself, she giggled, “Are you sure about that?”
Two clicks north of highly peeved, I managed to grit out, “Yeah. Well, I think so. That’s what the website I found said.” Gathering my nerve, I continued, “And what is so funny?”
“You might want to go back and check your web business. The post office wasn’t the only WPA project we had.”
Frustrated at not being in on the joke, I blustered, “Well, what else was there? What did he do?”
“He helped dig the outhouse up at the Alderson’s.”
More hysterical laughter.
This time, from both of us—we laughed until we cried.
“Thanks Mom, I’ll talk to you later,” I managed and hung up.
I went back to TLND. I began the search again, carefully reading the first page of projects, then the second—there’s the post office, LOTS of post offices—on to the third page. And there it was:
Sunset Hill Privy – Alderson WV
The federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed a privy at the historic Sunset Hill residence in Alderson, West Virginia.”
And what did I learn?
Don’t stop your research when you see something you like. Keep going to the end, doofus!
I found that I wasn’t “privy” until I got to the “privy.”
“States and Cities: West Virginia,” The Living New Deal (https://livingnewdeal.org/us/wv/page/2/), p. 2.
 Ibid., p.3.