Sortable Searchable Table of PWA Projects in Virginia 1934-1939

Frank da Cruz
fdc@columbia.edu
8 June 2017
[See original PWA report pages]   [Go straight to the table]

The Public Works Administration (PWA) was a New Deal agency created in 1933 to assist cash-strapped towns, cities, counties, and states in constructing public works during the Great Depression. In 1940, it produced a kind of spreadsheet showing all the projects it had sponsored from 1934 to 1939, inclusive, which is now in the US National Archives. The Virginia PWA Projects table pages that we have are JPG images, scanned from original paper copies by Evan Kalish in 2014, and thus not searchable or sortable. To make a more useful table, I transcribed the five most interesting columns from them by hand into (for old time's sake)* card images (since the reports were so obviously generated from punch cards). To allow for the possibility of transcription errors, I also wrote a program to convert the card images into the following table, and also into a TSV file (Tab-Separated-Values) suitable for importation into a spreadsheet. If any errors are found, I can correct the original "card deck" and run the program to generate corrected copies of the table and TSV file.
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In the 1960s and 70s I had some jobs that required a lot of key punching, and while I was transcribing this data into columnar format, I found myself wishing I was sitting at an IBM 026, which I could program to "skip to the next field", etc, using the program-card drum. But then it occurred to me that EMACS had to have something like a "keypunch mode" and I found it. So then it took me about 2 hours to type in all this data (I find it faster to do it this way than to OCR it and then spend countless hours correcting the scanning errors).
You can sort this table on any desired column. Click a column heading once to sort, and again to sort it in the opposite order. For example, click Location to see (for example) all the PWA projects in Alexandria. Or click Type to see (e.g.) all the Armories. Don't you wish all the states had tables like this? Docket is the PWA docket number. Location is the project's town or county (CO) in Virginia. Type is what kind of project it is (see notes at bottom). Financing is the amount of money the PWA granted or loaned to the locality for the project, from Column 7 (Total of PWA Loan and Grant). Completed is the completion date, yyyy/mm/dd. Note that other sources might refer to different financing numbers (see an original sheet), such as column 8 (Total Estimated Project Cost), column 17 (Contracts awarded or Force Acct) or column 21 (Projected Project Costs to Date Amount). For example the Short book uses Column 8. Unfortunately I don't have precise definitions for the different columns.

Docket  Location  Type  Financing  Completed 
278  ALTA VISTA  HOUSING  84000  1934/09/21 
774  CHARLOTTSVLLE  ARTS BLDG  38000  1935/02/16 
775  TAPPAHANNOCK  SCHOOL  15919  1934/09/05 
925  CULPEPER  ELEC PLANT  168494  1935/02/21 
930  NELSON CO  SCHOOL  12800  1935/01/02 
1059  PULASKI  BRIDGES  30090  1934/04/13 
1071  ARLINGTON CO  DISP PLANT  2779408  1937/01/19 
1074  ALEXANDRIA  STS SEWER  298336  1936/07/25 
1151  DANVILLE  ELEC PLANT  1529954  1939/02/22 
1154  WOODSTOCK  SCHOOL  17500  1934/12/07 
1155  DINWIDDIE CO  SCHL IMPRV  2749  1934/05/31 
1514  ALEXANDRIA  SCHOOL  357595  1936/03/30 
1544  DANVILLE  ELEC DISTR  5148  1935/05/08 
1731  NEWPORT NEWS  WATERWORKS  197356  1934/10/27 
1749  DANVILLE  WATERMAINS  23909  1935/06/27 
1777  PITTSYLVAN CO  SCHOOLS  54200  1936/04/18 
1778  STANLEY CO  WATERWORKS  23584  1936/09/25 
1790  BLACKSBURG  UNIV BLDGS  1156797  1937/05/11 
1798  RICHMOND  POWER HEAT  157000  1937/04/28 
1808  PETERSBURG  UNIV BLDGS  262027  1935/09/30 
1809  WILLIAMSBURG  WTWKS SEWR  62000  1934/12/10 
1811  HARRISONBURG  DORMITORY  147975  1935/06/22 
1819  FLOYD  WATERWORKS  44727  1937/06/20 
1930  WILLIAMSBURG  UNIV BLDGS  470582  1936/01/08 
1933  LYNCHBURG  WATERMAINS  560482  1935/03/15 
1964  FREDERICKSBRG  DORMS  381404  1935/09/14 
2096  EAST RADFORD  CAFETERIA  133033  1935/11/14 
2097  AMHERST CO  HI SCHOOL  1720  1934/09/10 
2098  FARMVILLE  SWIMG POOL  39656  1934/10/05 
2312  LEXINGTON  UNIV BLDGS  361875  1935/05/30 
2367  CARYSBROOK  HI SCHOOL  19750  1934/09/27 
2374  RADFORD  SCHOOL ADD  5000  1934/11/16 
2421  GOOCHLAND CO  HI SCHOOL  16300  1934/11/01 
2468  EGGLESTON  SCHOOL  19215  1934/12/12 
2487  FAIRFAX CO  SCHOOL ADD  48157  1935/03/25 
2502  ACCOMAC CO  HI SCH ADD  20200  1935/09/29 
2553  ALEXANDRIA  CURBS  100159  1936/06/06 
2583  CHARLOTTSVLLE  UNIV BLDGS  426026  1936/09/26 
2644  MONETA  HI SCHOOL  22800  1935/06/14 
2722  NEWPORT NEWS  INCINERATOR  66670  1934/12/19 
2736  GRETNA  WATERWORKS  61521  1935/10/09 
2824  BROADWAY  WATERWORKS  59268  1936/12/12 
2854  NORFOLK  REHABILITN  4300   
2870  MINERAL  WATERWORKS  40998  1937/09/00 
3064  AMHERST  WATERWORKS  28262  1935/06/14 
3455  ELIZ CITY CO  SCHOOL ADD  16698  1935/06/28 
3495  EMPORIA  SCHOOL ADD  16957  1934/12/01 
3512  HENRICO CO  WTWKS SEWR  62759  1935/05/15 
3541  HANOVER CO  SCHOOLS  40500  1936/05/16 
3551  RICHMOND  ARTS BLDG  76523  1936/06/19 
3742  VA BEACH  DISP PLANT  76090  1939/01/10 
3808  NORFOLK  HWY BRIDGE  117208  1936/04/15 
3874  CHATHAM  WATERWORKS  15254  1934/10/12 
3891  GOSHEN  WATERWORKS  29931  1936/06/27 
4195  BIG STONE GAP  DAM  62933  1935/06/30 
4327  PETERSBURG  WTWKS SEWR  87176  1934/12/01 
4537  BLUEFIELD  SAN SEWER  49304  1935/02/06 
4549  SHAWSVILLE  SCHOOLS  60100  1935/30/05 
4612  KILMARNOCK  WATERWORKS  49996  1935/15/05 
4636  CAMBRIA  SCHOOL  6902  1935/02/09 
4637  SALEM  WATERMAINS  11000  1935/05/09 
4679  CHRISTIANSBRG  DISP PLANT  98577  1935/11/19 
4837  WASHINGTON  WATERWORKS  27033  1935/13/31 
4881  CHARLOTTSVLLE  HOSPITAL  218791  1936/06/18 
5324  HIGHLAND SPGS  WATERWORKS  106000  1936/05/15 
5470  DICKENSON CO  HI SCHOOL  22374  1936/08/14 
5501  HARRISONBURG  JAIL  10396  1934/01/31 
5532  NORFOLK  REHABILITN  20200  1934/06/27 
5683  BURKEVILLE  WATERWORKS  47367  1935/04/26 
5686  MIDDLEBURG  WATERWORKS  55000  1936/08/06 
5744  FRONT ROYAL  MUNIC BLDG  10707  1936/02/08 
5951  STRASBURG  WATERWORKS  15000  1936/09/30 
5969  AMHERST CO  SCHOOLS  13482  1936/04/25 
6249  SUFFOLK  SCHOOL ADD  4098  1934/11/30 
6319  NEW KENT CO  SCHOOLS  9727  1935/04/24 
6320  HILTON VILG  SCHOOL  11281  1935/02/21 
6330  ORANGE  SCHOOL ADD  7000  1935/01/04 
6331  CLARKSVILLE  SCHOOL  12154  1935/05/20 
6367  NEWPORT NEWS  STADIUM  17500  1936/01/31 
6415  RICHMOND  LAUNDRY  61000  1936/12/31 
6713  ROCKINGHAM CO  SCHOOLS  36934  1935/01/10 
6784  CHARLOTTE CTH  WATERWORKS  8512  1936/05/02 
6946  HARRISONBURG  HI SCH ADD  9530  1935/05/22 
6988  HAYMARKET  AUDIT GYM  12405  1936/04/11 
6989  INDEPENDENCE  SCHOOLS  25532  1936/07/22 
7125  MADISON HGHTS  WATERWORKS  25000  1936/08/15 
7126  DANVILLE  HI SCHOOL  87200  1936/02/26 
7128  FALLS CHURCH  SAN SEWER  30541  1937/11/29 
7300  NORFOLK  GYMNASIUM  123000  1936/07/02 
7421  POUND  WATERWORKS  48612  1937/01/26 
7556  ROCKY MOUNT  WTWKS SEWR  11045  1936/11/13 
7561  WARREN CO  SCHOOLS  20294  1936/08/05 
7567  KEYSVILLE  WATERWORKS  102341  1938/11/02 
7608  FRONT ROYAL  COURTHOUSE  17587  1936/08/03 
7609  WASHINGTON CO  WATERWORKS  102341  1938/11/02 
7608  NEWPORT NEWS  HI SCHOOL  63450  1937/02/00 
7609  NEWPORT NEWS  SCHOOL ADD  13182  1936/09/10 
W1001  NEWPORT NEWS  SCHOOL ADD  17100  1936/04/10 
W1002  NEWPORT NEWS  HARBOR IMP  11123  1936/04/10 
W1003  NEWPORT NEWS  WATER TANK  36251  1936/05/12 
W1011  ASHLAND  SAN SEWER  40827  1936/09/09 
W1012  NEWPORT NEWS  ARMORY  29045  1936/06/12 
W1014  GILES CO  SCHOOL  12600  1936/10/30 
W1015  NORFOLK  SAN SEWER  24704  1936/10/13 
W1017  COLONIAL BCH  SCHL IMPRV  16364  1936/08/05 
W1018  CHARLOTTSVLLE  COUNTY BLD  43430  1939/08/08 
W1019  HALIFAX  HI SCHOOL  38250  1936/09/15 
W1022  NORFOLK  SAN SEWER  32813  1936/11/27 
W1023  COVINGTON  SWIMG POOL  7773  1936/06/12 
W1024  NORFOLK  SCHOOL  37634  1936/12/18 
W1025  NORFOLK  SAN SEWER  28365  1936/11/20 
W1027  TURBEVILLE  HI SCHOOL  31500  1936/12/30 
W1029  NORFOLK  STORM SEWR  15537  1936/11/24 
W1030  FREDERICKSBRG  ADMIN BLDG  143345  1939/10/23 
W1031  SHENANDOAH  SCHOOL  39411  1936/09/24 
W1032  TEMPLEMANS  HI SCHOOL  9900  1937/06/12 
W1033  WILLIAMSBURG  HOSPITAL  96750  1936/11/04 
W1034  WARRENTON  HI SCHOOL  58950  1936/10/06 
W1035  CUMBERLAND  HI SCHOOL  24300  1936/09/03 
W1036  PITTSYLVAN CO  SCHOOLS  53190  1939/10/02 
W1038  HILLSVILLE  SCHOOL  45900  1936/09/17 
W1040  RICHMOND  CLINIC  239850  1937/12/15 
W1041  HOPEWELL  SCHOOLS  44000  1938/09/11 
W1042  MORRISON  SCHOOL ADD  54000  1936/12/03 
W1043  COVINGTON  STR IMPROV  56454  1936/12/03 
W1044  WISE  AUDIT GYM  17998  1936/12/08 
W1045  ROCKVILLE  SCHOOL  25650  1937/02/04 
W1046  ALBEMARLE  SCHOOLS  106521  1936/12/01 
W1047  BACK CREEK  SCHOOLS  105300  1937/02/00 
W1048  DINWIDDIE CO  SCHOOLS  46756  1936/11/10 
W1049  RUSSELL CO  SCHOOL ADD  42324  1936/12/16 
W1050  SOUTHAMPTON C  SCHOOLS  35884  1936/09/29 
W1051  MONTGOMERY CO  AUDIT GYM  15570  1939/10/03 
W1052  NORFOLK  SCHOOL  225000  1939/10/30 
W1053  BLACKSBURG  CLUB BLDG  160910  1937/08/12 
W1055  LEXINGTON  BLDG IMPRV  269091  1936/12/11 
W1056  BLUEFIELD  SCHOOLS  76950  1937/10/00 
W1057  BLUE RIDGE  SCHOOL  33750  1939/09/16 
W1059  CULPEPER  SCHOOL  17852  1936/08/11 
W1061  ALEXANDRIA  STREETS  44691  1936/11/27 
W1062  FARMVILLE  LIBRARY  58500  1939/08/01 
W1063  EMPORIA  SCHOOL  17100  1937/07/03 
W1066  TAPPAHANNOCK  OFFICE BLD  5319  1937/04/29 
W1067  TAPPAHANNOCK  DISP PLANT  29455  1937/08/05 
W1068  LYNCHBURG  WATERMAINS  279000  1937/07/07 
W1069  MADISON  WATERMAINS  12574  1936/11/16 
W1070  BLAND CO  SCHOOL ADD  16425  1937/07/21 
W1071  WEST POINT  MUNIC IMP  18000  1937/04/30 
W1072  STAUNTON  SCHL IMPRV  22500  1936/06/10 
W1073  EMPORIA  WTWKS IMP  14494  1936/06/26 
W1074  HAMPTON  CITY HALL  24545  1939/04/14 
W1075  CHARLOTTSVLLE  LIBRARY  424201  1938/06/30 
W1076  LYNCHBURG  MUNIC BLDG  30150  1936/08/03 
W1077  NORFOLK  BRIDGE  54000  1939/03/17 
W1078  ONANCOCK  MUNIC BLDG  9819  1936/09/28 
W1079  RICHMOND  DORMITORY  140850  1938/06/30 
W1080  BELLEMEADE  SCHOOL ADD  23650  1938/01/11 
W1082  WAYNESBORO  HI SCHOOL  110250  1938/02/28 
W1083  MARION  HI SCHOOL  67500  1938/12/05 
W1088  HARRISONBURG  DORMITORY  138632  1936/10/17 
W1089  PETERSBURG  COLLEGE  597273  1938/08/24 
W1090  FARMVILLE  DORMITORY  39272  1939/03/01 
W1092  HOPEWELL  HOSPITAL  14850  1936/10/05 
W1095  BROOKNEAL  SAN SEWER  34439  1937/09/17 
W1096  WAVERLEY  DISP PLANT  40556  1937/09/17 
W1098  STAUNTON  SCHOOL  30991  1936/10/03 
W1099  CAMPBELL CO  SCHOOL ADD  26835  1936/05/15 
W1101  UNIVERSITY  HOSP ADD  67500  1939/09/19 
W1102  ALEXANDRIA  SAN SEWER  10973  1936/07/09 
W1103  BEDFORD CO  SCHOOL  55800  1937/09/24 
W1105  AMHERST CO  HI SCH ADD  18450  1938/11/25 
W1108  LEE CO  SCH BLDGS  57600  1937/11/23 
W1109  ELIZ CITY CO  SCHOOL  81818  1936/12/02 
W1110  PORTSMOUTH  SCHOOLS  52200  1937/10/16 
W1112  GLEN ALLEN  SCHOOL ADD  18000  1936/08/25 
W1113  LANCASTER  CTHSE REPR  17182  1937/10/16 
W1114  PHOEBUS  MUNIC IMPR  35744  1939/05/29 
W1116  RICHMOND  SCHOOL ADD  51750  1936/11/18 
W1117  RICHMOND  SCHOOL ADD  38232  1936/09/30 
W1118  PULASKI CO  SCHOOL  36900  1937/10/18 
W1119  ARLINGTON CO  SCHOOLS  102150  1938/01/10 
W1121  LA CROSSE  WATERWORKS  17182  1939/10/02 
W1124  NORFOLK  SCHOOL  45900  1939/01/24 
W1126  ALEXANDRIA  STS SEWER  81115  1937/04/14 
W1128  BLACKSBURG  ARMORY  18000  1936/12/31 
W1130  GLOUCESTER  WATERWORKS  15300  1937/02/11 
W1131  ROANOKE CO  SAN SEWER  121909  1938/02/19 
W1133  NORFOLK CO  SCHOOLS  56700  1938/12/17 
W1134  GILES CO  SCHOOLS  59400  1939/11/04 
W1135  PRINCE EDWD CO  SCHOOLS  26190  1939/09/30 
W1137  HERNDON  DISP PLANT  40569  1938/02/15 
W1138  HAMPTON  STADIUM  15750  1938/12/19 
W1140  CRAIGSVILLE  WATERWORKS  26142  1936/07/14 
W1143  MAYWOOD  SCHOOL  16648  1936/12/15 
W1144  PETERSBURG  MUNIC BLDGS  25574  1936/08/24 
W1146  GRETNA  HI SCHOOL  31500  1937/10/04 
W1147  RICHMOND  SAN SEWER  67414  1936/06/12 
W1148  RICHMOND  STR IMPROV  22050  1937/05/25 
W1149  RICHMOND  PAVING  67050  1939/08/08 
W1150  RICHMOND  PAVING  34650  1939/02/06 
W1152  ROANOKE  BRIDGE  149265  1939/08/12 
W1158  FAIRFAX  SAN SEWER  44956  1937/01/30 
W1159  FRONT ROYAL  WATERWORKS  12600  1936/06/25 
W1169  NORFOLK  SCHOOL ADD  35100  1938/11/05 
W1173  NORFOLK  ARTS BLDG  45000  1939/07/05 
W1174  CHATHAM  OFFICE BLD  33750  1939/09/23 
W1175  BERRYVILLE  SAN SEWER  26659  1936/12/01 
W1176  PETERSBURG  SCHOOLS  86308  1939/09/02 
W1179  ARLINGTON CO  STR IMPROV  45000  1939/07/15 
W1180  CREWE  TOWN HALL  14680  1939/03/23 
W1182  LEXINGTON  WTWKS IMP  46919  1936/11/30 
W1183  SPERRYVILLE  SCHL IMPRV  13950  1935/11/07 
W1187  GALAX  SCHOOL  27000  1937/11/06 
W1188  NEWPORT NEWS  SCHOOL ADD  122130  1939/08/15 
W1190  FARMVILLE  SCHOOL ADD  44370  1938/01/10 
W1192  RICHMOND  SCHOOL  209250  1938/05/28 
W1193  PETERSBURG  MUNIC IMP  18900  1939/09/27 
W1196  BUCKINGHAM  SCHOOL  45000  1939/06/15 
W1197  OAK GROVE  SCHOOL ADD  24750  1937/10/16 
W1199  PURCELLVILLE  LIBRARY  11340  1937/09/03 
W1200  POWHATAN  SCHOOL  18000  1937/07/09 
W1201  GOOCHLAND CO  SCHOOL  15750  1938/11/19 
W1202  RICHMOND  WATERWORKS  101250  1939/10/10 
W1203  BASSETT  SCHOOL  27000  1937/09/21 
W1204  ROCKBRIDGE CO  SCHOOLS  82219  1939/06/30 
W1205  LEXINGTON  BRIDGE  22500  1939/02/09 
W1206  ROCK FISH  SCHOOL  31500  1939/03/01 
W1207  RICHMOND  STORM SEWR  26338  1939/02/04 
W1208  RICHMOND  PAVING  70650  1939/08/07 
W1209  RICHMOND  STREET IMP  133650  1939/09/21 
W1210  HENRICO CO  SCHOOLS  85612  1939/09/12 
W1211  HERNDON  WATERWORKS  30572  1938/04/27 
W1214  MIDDLEBURG  SAN SEWER  18000  1938/01/21 
W1215  BLACKSBURG  LABORATORY  32200  1938/07/13 
W1216  ELIZ CITY CO  SCHOOL ADD  26100  1937/07/31 
W1217  KEYSVILLE  SAN SEWER  15725  1938/03/15 
W1218  RICHMOND  HARBOR IMPR  25373  1938/05/23 
W1219  HANOVER CO  SCHOOLS  35600  1939/02/14 
W1221  COVINGTON  WATERWORKS  37575  1937/10/11 
W1223  RINER  SCHOOL  44775  1939/09/13 
W1224  SOUTH BOSTON  HI SCHOOL  43200  1939/03/06 
W1225  CONCORD DEPOT  SCHOOL  36000  1938/06/19 
W1226  APPOMATTOX  SCHOOL  36000  1939/08/15 
W1227  FREDERICKSBRG  WTWKS IMP  50850  1939/08/10 
W1228  ROANOKE CO  SCHOOLS  79058  1939/04/29 
W1229  RICHMOND  SAN SEWER  18437  1938/03/21 
W1230  HARRISONBURG  SCHOOL  45000  1939/06/03 
W1231  SUSSEX CO  SCHOOLS  33750  1939/05/31 
W1233  MARTINSVILLE  ARMORY  11541  1939/03/16 
W1235  SALUDA  VOCATL SCH  13500  1939/07/29 
W1236  RUSTBURG  JAIL  14400  1939/04/05 
W1238  RICHMOND CO  SCHOOL ADD  32724  1939/02/25 
W1240  PATRICK CO  SCHOOLS  112500  1939/10/14 
W1241  DINWIDDIE  SCHOOL  18000  1939/06/22 
W1242  ALEXANDRIA  SCHOOL  67500  1939/08/23 
W1245  CREEDS  SCHOOL  31950  1939/08/10 
W1246  ARLINGTON CO  SCHOOL  160650  1939/12/14 
X1248  NEWPORT NEWS  WATER TANK  33326  1938/12/15 
X1250  LYNCHBURG  STR IMPROV  37575  1938/10/31 
W1252  HERNDON  MUNIC BLD  13379  1939/04/10 
X1253  BLACKSTONE  WTWKS SEWR  27000  1939/06/22 
X1254  HARRISONBURG  BUILDING  32400  1939/05/26 
X1254  HARRISONBURG  LIBRARY  63000  1939/09/18 
X1256  MARTINSVILLE  INCINERATR  12481  1939/02/21 
X1258  NORFOLK  HARBOR IMP  74250  1939/11/17 
X1261  PETERSBURG  DORMITORY  69545  1939/08/30 
X1262  PULASKI CO  SCHOOLS  56250  1939/11/03 
X1263  CAMPBELL CO  SCH BLDGS  35798  1939/05/25 
X1264  STAUNTON  CTHSE ADD  29038  1939/07/15 
X1265  BOWLING GREEN  SCHOOL  64890  1939/09/09 
X1267  DINWIDDIE  SCHOOL  67500  1939/12/04 
X1269  GRUNDY  SCH BLDG  123120  1939/09/20 
X1270  SOUTHAMPTON  SCHOOLS  48160  1939/08/11 
X1271  CHARLOTTE CTH  COUNTY BLD  3490  1939/03/13 
X1273  SPRINGFIELD  SCHOOL BLD  36810  1939/11/02 
X1282  FREDERICKSBRG  ACADEMIC B  69110  1939/09/16 
X1287  CHARLOTTSVLLE  SCHOOL  45000  1939/09/05 
X1289  SUFFOLK  SCHOOL  20250  1939/07/19 
X1290  RICHMOND  SCHOOL  51750  1939/09/02 
X1291  CARYSBROOK  SCHOOL  25425  1939/08/07 
X1292  CATAWBA SANTM  HOSPITAL  91022  1939/10/17 
X1294  FARMVILLE  COURTHOUSE  63839  1939/11/18 
X1295  DUMFRIES  SCHL IMPRV  22500  1939/07/03 
X1297  STAFFORD CO  SCHOOLS  16650  1939/11/17 
X1298  BUCKROE BEACH  SCHOOL  28299  1939/08/09 
X1299  ELIZABETH CTY  SCHL IMPR  25920  1939/04/27 
X1300  TWO COUNTIES  BUILDINGS  173700  1939/10/30 
X1301  CLARKESVILLE  WATERWORKS  10075  1939/02/14 
X1302  APPOMATTOX  OFFICE BLD  10033  1939/02/01 
X1303  BLAND CO  SCHL IMPRV  22399  1939/08/12 
X1306  MT JACKSON  SCHOOL ADD  29700  1939/11/04 
X1307  SHENANDOAH CO  SCHL IMPRV  22963  1939/05/29 
X1309  SMYTH CO  HI SCH ADD  7200  1939/05/08 
X1310  RUSSELL CO  AUDIT GYM  31500  1939/06/10 
X1311  GREENWOOD  SCHOOL ADD  17115  1939/06/15 
X1312  CHARLOTTSVLLE  UNIV IMPRV  61363  1939/10/06 
X1313  AMHERST CO  SCH BLDGS  61200  1939/10/13 
X1314  HENRY COUNTY  SCHL IMPRV  14400  1939/06/10 
X1315  LOUDON CO  SCH BLDGS  13950  1939/07/27 
X1316  KING GEORGE  SCH BLDG  22500  1939/05/22 
X1317  FARMVILLE  HEAT PLANT  39960  1939/06/16 
X1319  LEE COUNTY  SCH BLDGS  53836  1939/11/15 
X1320  HAMPTON  SCHOOL ADD  48960  1939/08/28 
X1321  PHOEBUS  SCHOOL ADD  18473  1939/08/01 
X1322  SUSSEX CO  SCH BLDGS  22500  1939/06/24 
X1323  LEXINGTON  UNIV BLDGS  15381  1939/10/30 
X1324  PORTSMOUTH  SCH BLDG  56629  1939/07/05 
X1325  PORTSMOUTH  SCHOOL ADD  12600  1939/05/05 
X1326  HENRICO CO  SCHOOLS  99000  1939/09/29 
X1327  LAWRENCEVILLE  CTHSE ADD  18000  1939/05/31 
X1328  SPOTSYLVANIA  SCH BLDG  16965  1939/07/03 
X1329  WASHINGTON CO  SCHOOLS  17325  1939/09/01 
X1332  APPOMATTOX  SAN SEWER  27450  1939/08/12 
X1333  FLOYD CO  SCH BLDGS  129150  1939/10/25 
X1335  MARTINSVILLE  CTHSE IMPR  25496  1939/07/05 
X1353  LEESBURG  DISP LANT  67500  1939/08/04 
X1357  WAYNESBORO  SCHOOL ADD  9000  1939/05/27 
X1396  ALEXANDRIA  STORM SEWR  9900  1939/07/21 
X1399  RICHMOND  SWIMG POOL  52941  1939/07/03 
X1405  ROANOKE  SANITARIUM  48551  1939/12/12 
X1411  ALEXANDRIA  PAVING  8100  1939/04/27 
X1412  NORFOLK  HOSPITAL  41855  1939/11/30 
X1467  ALEXANDRIA  STORM SEWR  11250  1939/04/29 

The financing total comes to $24,247,232.00 ($24M), equivalent to about $436 million 2018 dollars.

Notes

In one case (docket #2854), no completion date was given. In several other cases, the year and month were given, but not the day; in those cases the day is shown as 00. I don't have a decoder for the Type column. The width of the column was constrained to 10 characters by punch-card capacity. Most of the abbreviations are obvious, even if their precise meaning isn't. For example "SCHOOL ADD" (an addition for a school building?). SAN SEWER is a sanitation sewer, as opposed to a storm sewer (STORM SEWR), and an STS SEWER is a Sewage Treatment System Sewer. IMP and IMPR and IMPRV mean "improvements". MUNIC is "municipal". AUDIT GYM means "auditorium and gymnasium" in a school. CTHSE is Courthouse. REPR is Repair. BLD and BLDG mean Building. STR is Street. DISP PLANT means Sewage Disposal Plant.

Observations

From this document alone we learn that just one New Deal agency — the Public Works Administration — financed 324 projects in one state — Virginia — over a span of six years, to the tune of $42,991,729.00 (the sum of the numbers in column 4), which would be $773,851,122.00: three quarters of a billion 2017 dollars. The majority of these projects were public works: schools, bridges, power plants, hospitals, libraries, municipal buildings, and so on (sort the table by Type to see each category grouped together). Most of these projects continue to render service to their communities and to employ significant numbers of Virginians.

By a conservative count at least 127 new schools were built (not counting the many schools that were expanded or improved). Let's say each school employs 20 people — teachers, administrators, custodians — that's 2540 jobs over an average span of 80.5 years. Let's say the typical school employee earns $30,000. That comes to $76,200,000 added to the real economy in this one state, every year, or six billion dollars over these 80.5 years (142 times the original investment). Let's say each employee pays 15% federal tax; that's $900 million, or about 12 times the original investment so far.

If the average capacity of a Virgina school is (say) 500 students and all the buildings still exist and remain in use, then over a million students per year are receiving educations in these buildings, and eventually they enter the work force and add more value to the economy and to the tax base, and the cycle continues. This represents a highly productive and sustainable use of federal money, the likes of which we haven't seen since some time before 1980.

By the way another, less visible, category figures into this list of PWA projects, too: Water Works. About these I quote from a recent email from Gray Brechin, founder of the Living New Deal:

Safe drinking water is one of the greatest gifts of the New Deal which was quickly taken for granted. It is all breaking down now much as did the aqueducts that fed ancient Rome, thus contributing to the end of that empire. I suspect that Trump/Bannon's “solution” to the crackup of water infrastructure will be to privatize it, though the maintenance backlog is so vast now that I doubt that anyone could make a profit from doing so.

More about punch cards

From America Builds: The record of the PWA, Public Works Administration, Division of Information, United States Government Printing Office, Washington DC (1939), 316pp:
To obtain the complete record of this one phase of employment, the contractors' pay roll forms for each of the thousands of PWA projects throughout the country were passed along and were neatly stacked in the Department of Labor. Each sheet was fed into the receiving end of a huge electric calculating machine to be ejected as a small, punched card, looking something like a well-worn meal ticket, which in a way it was, for it had recorded the meals of millions of American citizens throughout the Nation.

These cards were then fed one by one into another machine, and out of the far end of that machine came the constantly rising total of man-hours of employment on each site and the total sum spent there.

To determine the total amount of supplies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics turned to the records of material orders which showed how much of each type of material was used, from whom the materials were purchased, and how much they cost. These records were made into punchcards, similar to the ones made for direct employment and wages, and these cards were duly fed to the huge calculating machines. Year after year, these machines hummed on, and on March I, 1939, the machines showed that PWA projects had called for a total of $2,174,833,431 worth of materials.

Mystery

Some of the PWA projects described in the 1939 C.W. Short PWA book do not appear in the 1940 summary sheets; for example, the Langley Field Wind Tunnel, the Arlington Cemetery Chapel, the Blacksburg-Pearisburg Road Bridge, the Richmond Parcel Post Building, and Skyline Drive. (The first two are probably considered federal so therefore not listed with non-federal projects.)


Most recent update: Fri May 25 08:08:19 2018