Making the New Deal Visible in LA

The Living New Deal Project and the Huntington-USC Institute for the Study of California and the West are launching a project called "Making the New Deal Visible in Los Angeles" and could use your help.  The project has two parts, the first of which is intensive research into what the New Deal built around the LA region and the second is using that information to educate Angelenos about this critical epoch in local and national history. The LA basin has a particularly rich New Deal legacy, in part due to the impact of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake.

The project will document specific sites of art works and public works, which are then entered into the Living New Deal's online map of New Deal sites.  Public works includes everything from city halls to sewer lines, high schools to sidewalks and courthouses to playgrounds.  These projects were done by the thousands all across the US by the New Deal's alphabet soup agencies: Public Works Administration (PWA), Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civil Works Administration (CWA), National Youth Administration (NYA), and more. Agencies also include old line agencies like the Treasury Department (Post Offices), Army Corps of Engineers, and Bureau of Public Roads.

In order to carry out this documentation, the Living New Deal Project Team would like to access key archival collections for every one of the greater Los Angeles region's cities.  They will be using student research assistants to identifying sources but will also be seeking guidance from local public historians and L.A. as Subject membership. There are easily 1000 such sites across the southern half of LA County.

The second part of the project includes outreach to the people of greater Los Angeles and hopefully to be done in concert with local historical organizations and agencies that want to add the New Deal element to their ongoing public programs.  Here, the project team can offer assistance, knowledge and voices.  

For those interested in participating and learning more about the Living New Deal Project, see the attached information sheet or contact the project director Richard Walker via phone at 510-295-3108 or email at or

Image: “Hauling Water Pipe through Antelope Valley” mural by Jose Moya del Pino (1941) located in the Lancaster post office on 567 West Lancaster Blvd, Lancaster, CA 93534. Photographed by Richard Walker and made available through Creative Commons.