The Great Depression began in October 1929 with the largest stock market crash America had ever seen. By 1933, as many as 13 to 15 million Americans were without work and almost half of the nation’s banks had gone under. Fortunately, Virginia fared better than many states thanks to factors like agricultural diversity, limited manufacturing reliance, and diverse commerce. Likewise, a large government and military presence in Washington and Norfolk brought in much-needed government funds.
However, in the end, the Great Depression in Virginia spared no one and the residents saw their fair share of hard times. Some of the hardest hit were in rural areas, of which Virginia had many. The following historic photos of Virginia show many of those areas, as well as a few of the equally devastated urban areas. Collectively, they remind us of just how much we have to be thankful for — even during trying times.
These powerful images are poignant reminders of a time that many Virginians still remember, whether for themselves or through the stories of parents and grandparents. And they certainly drive home the fact that we have much to be grateful for, especially as we recognize that there are many who are still in need, even in Virginia.
Do you know much about the Great Depression? What are your thoughts on these historic photos of Virginia? We would love to hear any stories you might have to share. Please feel free to pass along your thoughts and stories in the comments below.
How has Virginia changed over the years?
Since the Great Depression in Virginia, vast changes were made as residents struggled to regain a sense of normalcy. One of the most prominent changes to come out of the Great Depression was the development of the Civilian Conservation Corps, also known as the CCC. This voluntary work relief program enlisted young men to help build parks throughout the United States. In Virginia, six parks were the direct result of early CCC efforts: Douthat, Fairy Stone, Hungry Mother, First Landing, Staunton River, and Westmoreland.
What historical events happened in Virginia?
Virginia has born witness to countless significant historical events. Long before the arrival of Europeans, Native Americans lived throughout the state. Some of the largest tribes included the Powhatan in the East, the Catawba in the South, the Tutelo in the central region, and the Cherokee in the West. In May of 1607, settlers from the Virginia Company of London established Jamestown. In 1775, Virginia quickly joined the war effort to fight the British for their Independence. By 1788, the Commonwealth of Virginia officially became the 10th state to ratify the Constitution. It wasn’t long before war broke out again, this time between the North and the South. The capital of the Confederacy was for a time established in Richmond, Virginia. Reconstruction followed in an effort to rebuild much of what had been damaged by the Civil War.
What is Virginia most known for?
Virginia is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of Presidents,” given the fact that no less than eight U.S. Presidents were born here. These Presidents include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. Virginia is also known for some of its iconic food, including blue crab and oysters from the Chesapeake Bay.