A Cooperative Community

On October 22, 1935, the homesteaders in Arthurdale chartered the Arthurdale Association, a non-share corporation and branch of the Mountaineer Craftmen’s Cooperative Association operating in Scotts Run.  The association eventually took out loans for several cooperative ventures in Arthurdale including a store, farm, inn, a barber shop, industrial factory, service station, as well as a dairy and poultry operation.  All of these cooperative businesses lost money for the association. Historian Steven Haid stated that the cooperatives “were poorly conceived, poorly managed, and…poorly operated.”  Although financially unsuccessful, the cooperatives did provide employement to the homesteaders at a time when it was most needed as well as skills they used even after the craft industry stopped operations.

Photo of the on Arthurdale project, Reedsville, WV
View on Arthurdale project, Reedsville, West Virginia, showing CO-OP general store, furniture factory, and tea room all parts of cooperative living at Arthurdale. Edwin Locke, February 1937, Library of Congress, FSA-OWI Collection.