Date in History: 1939

The second and current Barrie School on Harriette Street in Fort Atkinson, opened in 1939. The $125,000 project was financed by the school district and by a large grant from the federal government’s Public Works Association or the PWA. The PWA was one of the so-called alphabet soup agencies created by President Roosevelt during the New Deal. More than any other program, the PWA epitomized Roosevelt’s notion of using assistance to prime the pump of economic growth. An amazing 70% of all schools built in the United States between 1933, when the PWA began, and 1939 received PWA assistance.

One unusual feature of the 1939 Barrie School was that its blackboards were made of glass. Teachers used charcoal or special blue chalk to write on them.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 09/27/2004.