Western New York WPA Projects

Source: Mark Sommer, "Time for Another WPA" in The Buffalo News, October 17, 2010

More than 300 WPA projects provided 40,000 jobs between 1935 and 1943 for Western New Yorkers during the Great Depression.

Municipal projects:

Buffalo Municipal Airport modernized

Slum clearance projects completed, precursor to future urban renewal

Buffalo Zoo overhauled and expanded

Buffalo and Erie County parks and playgrounds renovated

Lovejoy branch library constructed

High-pressure fire lines tripled

Erie County Jail built

174th Regiment Armory overhauled

School 37 and Kensington High School built

Cyclorama converted in Grosvenor Library

4,000 elm trees planted on Elmwood Avenue

Holland Town Hall constructed

Negro Nursery built


Art Institute of Buffalo created to teach arts to working people, with watercolor painter Charles Burchfield among faculty

Fledgling Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra hired 70 musicians

Buffalo Zoo adorned with murals and cast-iron reliefs and sculpture

High schools and post offices decorated with murals

Buffalo Historical Marionettes performed hundreds of puppet shows annually

Stadiums and Performing Halls:

War Memorial Stadium constructed

Memorial Auditorium erected in 10 1/2 months

25 percent of cost paid to build Kleinhans Music Hall


Buffalo River recoursed with 25-foot-deep, 215-foot-wide and 2,000-foot-long channel

Erie Canal five-mile ditch filled in between Buffalo and Town of Tonawanda

Delaware Avenue straightened and reconstructed

53 Buffalo sewage projects worked on

Alden sewage system installed

Lackawanna slag pit cleaned up

Topographical survey of Niagara River and Lake Erie along waterfront completed

Scajaquada Bridge built over Delaware Avenue

Buffalo treatment Plant erected on island in Niagara River

Abandoned Manhattan Quarry revived behind Bennett High School

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2010
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