WPA Sidewalk Picture of the Week

By now, you know that I’m a history buff—or perhaps I’m only interested in trivia. I don’t know what the distinction is, but I know that I’m not cut out to be a scholar. I don’t have the patience to spend months in the Vatican Library tracing the origins of … anything. If Google or Wikipedia doesn’t have an explanation then I move on. However, if someone mentions Hannibal, I think of elephants and not fava beans. I even watched all the James Burke’s Connections series—twice. I’m the only person that I know that has a personal copy of Arizona Place Names—and uses it. This probably explains why I write blog posts instead of novels, and it is the reason behind this thought that I had when I published this week’s image—I wonder how many young people know the history of the sidewalk’s stamp.

When I was scurrying up and down Jerome’s hilly streets last week, I went into the Holy Family Catholic Church on Country Road for an interior shot. After that, because the day was late and I was out of breath, I started back down to Main Street where Queen Anne was waiting for me. At the end of the street, there are a couple of stairs so I looked down to prevent falling. That’s when I first saw the stamping and decided that I needed to take another photograph. I call it WPA Sidewalk.

WPA Sidewalk
This section of sidewalk in Jerome is a museum piece that people walk on daily.

This is only the second existing example of a Works Progress Administration—renamed in 1939 as the Works Project Administration, it was the depression era program that employed people for public works projects—that I have cataloged in my brain’s world map. The other is a bridge on the US89 north of Flagstaff. (Maybe finding and shooting WPA sites would be a book-worthy photography project.) Jerome has already replaced many of its walkways with ADA-compliant versions. They had to because of age, winter freezing, and earth movement, but this one is still in good shape and is used every day. With the hand-scribed lines (for better footing?), it’s certainly different from the sterile versions that machines spit-out today. Since it’s over fifty years old, it probably qualifies for protection under the American Antiquities Act. This sidewalk is the only museum piece that I know of that you can leisurely stroll down.

You can see a larger version of WPA Sidewalk on its Web Page by clicking here. I hope you enjoy viewing my newest entry and come back next week when I post another Jerome photograph.

Until next time — jw

5 thoughts on “WPA Sidewalk Picture of the Week

  1. “ Scurrying” is kind of a strong word for you, isn’t it Jim?

    Just wondering……🤔😉

    1. Well, fluttering wasn’t any better, but sluggish or snail’s pace might be more accurate. What do you want, accuracy or entertainment? jw

  2. Don’t think I have ever noticed it before. Will look for it next time we go to the Haunted Hamburger.

  3. There is a WPA marking on a concrete wall near the Wickenburg Art Center. On Tegner. Same block. Same side of the street.

  4. As another data point, I’ve come across several of these stamps while photographing in the Garfield Historic District in downtown Phoenix.

    In fact, I got to study one of them at length recently as I stood around waiting for the police to arrive after a homeowner claimed to have called them on me…

Comments are closed.