The Great Depression began with New York Stock Market Crash in 1929; it lasted through the 1930’s. The banks closed first and many banks had invested recklessly in stocks. Stocks became worthless and banks lost their money. People who had saved money in banks became broke. Many factories and businesses closed because no one had money to spend on anything. Thousands of workers lost their jobs. Also” United States President Hoover did not have a workable plan to help end the depression”, Said in “Washington in the Pacific North West”. So many people blamed him for not doing his job. Homeless people built housing developments out of scrap lumber, metal, and cardboard and called them “Hoovervilles” (Green 146).
One of the biggest droughts in U.S. History came to the Great Plains States in 1928 and went on for twelve years. Strong winds had turned Dry farm regions into an enormous Dust Bowl. The drought reached the Pacific Northwest; “Clouds of topsoil from the Colombia Basin were able to be seen by ships, hundreds of miles off the Washington Coast” (Green 147). Crops rotted in the fields because the cost of harvesting and shipping them to markets would be greater than their sale price. In Oregon, thousands of sheep were slaughtered and fed to buzzards and coyotes because the money farmers could get for the meat and wool were too low to make a profit. In Washington, some farmers burned fruit trees for fuel.
Migrants by the thousands loaded up there old rundown cars and went down the highway never to return again. Many people in the Northwest, like Washingtonians, were shocked that people from the Great Plains thought that was the land of opportunity with such harsh conditions. Most traveled Highway 66 that went all the way across the country; many then took highway 30 to Oregon and Washington. By 1940, more than 400,000 migrants had followed Jim Emmett to the Northwest. But sadly not every migrant found that “promise land” (green 148), many were only able to make only a bare subsistence living as fruit and vegetable pickers.
To end the Great Depression someone had to take charge. It started 1932, it was a presidential election year and the Democrats chose Franklin D. Roosevelt as their candidate. FDR won the election and pledged himself and his party to a “New Deal” (green 149) for the American people. He viewed the Northwest, with its small population and abundant natural resources, as a “last frontier” of undeveloped places. He wanted to use the forested and rivers wisely. FDR and congress created a New Deal programs to put people back to work. The most popular New Deal was the Civilian Conservation Corps; young men from every part of the nation were stationed on camps throughout the Northwest. They would earn about $30 to $45 a month, and received good food, education, and discipline. Another New Deal program was the works progress Administration (WPA). The WPA hired musicians, writers, historians, and artists.
The Pacific Northwest started the Grand Coulee Dam by receiving money from the New Deal. This dam was to provide waterpower energy for the pacific North West. Immediately this gave a lot of new jobs for Washingtonians to construct the Coulee Dam. There were about seven thousand men from all over Washington working on this Dam. “When construction of the dam began, the town of Grand Coulee sprang up from the desert says “(Green 150). The Bonneville