An Historic Context of the New Deal in Eastern Kentucky 1933-1943
The New Deal left an enduring legacy on Kentucky’s landscape. In fact, it could be argued that the New Deal’s building program altered the Commonwealth’s landscape to a degree experienced only during the drastic changes of the settlement period. New buildings, roads, bridges, whole communities, forests and even programs to change the cultural landscape of farming came into being in this time period because of direct federal government involvement. To say this was unprecedented is an understatement at best.
This study examines New Deal history in the Eastern Kentucky Cultural Landscape Region of Kentucky. This region was formally established by the Kentucky Heritage Council as a planning unit to study historic themes and develop preservation contexts. The study area includes the following counties: Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliot, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, McCreary, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Whitley and Wolfe Counties.
While data from all the counties in this study is included, the focus was limited to four specific focus counties, the boundary of which allowed the authors to get a more accurate impression of New Deal programs on the local landscape and represent the urban, rural, industrial, and agricultural diversity that exists in the region.