"Preliminary Study of Community & Administration
Buildings Crossville Project, Crossville, Tenn."
By an unknown draftsman, Special Plans Division, Resettlement Administration,
August 12, 1936
Pencil on tracing paper
31 1/2" x 42" National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Farmers
New Deal Planned Communities: Cumberland
Homesteads, Crossville, Tennessee As part of the effort to assist some of those
unemployed by the Great Depression, several federal agencies under President
Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal built experimental, planned communities,
known as "new towns." The Resettlement Administration, another New Deal
agency, planned a controversial set of "new towns" known as "subsistence
homesteads." These planned rural communities gave housing, education,
employment, and a fresh start to displaced farmers or unemployed industrial
workers willing to relocate to the countryside. One of these, located
near Crossville, Tennessee, was named Cumberland Homesteads. It was designed
as a town for coal miners left "stranded" by mine shutdowns. The community
and administration buildings depicted here were designed to give the town
a definite hub and make it more than just another housing project. Advocates
of the subsistence homesteads saw them as an opportunity to create the
model communities of the future and stem the flow of migrants to the cities.
Opponents saw them as wasteful social experiments.