Between 1933 and 1937, three different types of houses were built for the original 165 homes. The first 50, Hodgson Houses, were built in 1933-1934; the next 75, Wagner Houses, in 1935; and the last group of 40, Stone Houses, were constructed in 1936-1937.

Residents of the first houses were given furniture free of charge, but, according to their need. The government attempted to maintain an inventory of the furnishings and equipment it had provided, expecting that the homesteaders would eventually pay for them.

Later arrivals were not as fortunate. Not only did they receive less, but the quality of construction materials was not as good, nor was all of the carpentry completed.

The Civil Works Administration paid local women to make the curtains and bed linens for the houses and the Mountaineer Craftsmen’s Cooperative Association was given the task of making colonial style furniture and kitchen cabinets to complement the wood panel walls and brick fireplaces.

Each homestead included farm plots of about 1 1/2 to 4 acres. Homesteaders were selected for their background in farming or their ability to learn the necessary skills. An average plot might include an acre of wheat, several types of fruit trees (apples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc.), and a grape arbor. Any remaining acreage would have been planted in forage crops for the livestock being raised.

All the homes built in Arthurdale featured electricity, indoor plumbing, and refrigerators. The kitchen stoves and boilers were coal-fired. In addition to steam heat, all of the homes were also equipped with fireplaces to provide additional heat in the winter months.


House construction. Arthurdale project. Reedsville, West Virginia, Walker Evans, June 1935, Library of Congress, FSA-OWI Collection.