Winter Works

We salute all those who are working outdoors this snowy, icy, rainy January of 2024!

Of the many projects undertaken by the Civil Works Administration in Scott County during the Great Depression, two of those directed by the Davenport Park Board were completed during times of wintry weather in 1933 and 1934. The following groups of photographs by H.E. Dissette document the snowy conditions under which local men labored in Duck Creek Park and Credit Island.

Grading, Duck Creek Park, Project #29/#209 (dpl2003-14b2f33a-e, volume 15)

George T. French, in the Illustrated Record of C.W.A Projects, Scott County, Iowa 1933-1934 (SC 352.7 Ill v.1) reports that this project employed about 200 men per day to haul and spread earth in an area that would become an athletic field. They also sloped the creek banks, and filled dry channels, and. French could not disguise his enthusiasm for the success of these latter improvements to Duck Creek:

“Where the creek was formerly overgrown with coarse brush, it is now to be decorated by expert landscape architects; where formerly there was continual danger of overflow, and constant erosion of the creek banks, there is now a smooth current, and ample assurance against overflow and wasteful tearing away of valuable land.”

French, p. 52a.

Credit Island Lake, Project #19/#30/#210 (dpl2003-14b2f34c, dpl2003-14b2f35a-c & f, volume 15)

The Credit Island Lake project also called for difficult manual labor, with the exception of the use of a tractor-drawn plow when the ground was frozen. The workers cut and removed ” dead or diseased, and therefore unsightly” trees and bushes; they dug six feet down into the ground and carried, by wheelbarrow, “…thousands of yards of earth to the banks of the prospective lake.” The result was, according to French, “an attractive and clean addition to the municipal playgrounds” (pages 53-54).

(posted by Katie)

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