The Deal That Keeps On Giving:
Hudson Valley New Deal Projects Still on the Job

by
Jay Desai




"The WPA created a work of art."
- Thomas C. Nucifore, Postmaster Poughkeepsie Post Office -

Six decades after the closing of The Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corporation (CCC), they are still on the job in Dutchess County.
The WPA and CCC, which were active in 1930s and 1940s, had a significant influence on the Hudson Valley's architecture, jobs, and infrastructure. The value of these projects are still evident in such efforts as the Poughkeepsie Post Office, the Taconic State Parkway and Norrie Point.
Norrie Point, a beacon on the Hudson, was constructed in 1921, by the parents of Lewis Gordon Norrie. The 16-acre estate was set aside as a memorial for Norrie after his death in a car accident.
After Norrie's parents death in the early 1930s, the estate was donated to the state of New York. According to Thomas Thurston, regional director of Building America, some CCC projects included drilling quarries, constructing bridges, and erecting the buildings at Norrie Park.
Norrie Point has two primary uses, Thurston said.
"Norrie Point is mainly a state park, but also has an environmental center which is used for research," he said.
Currently, Norrie serves as the environmental outpost of the Dutchess Community College. Norrie students conduct tests on the Hudson River's ecosystem.
The Poughkeepsie Post Office symbolizes a crowing achievement of the WPA. According to Postmaster Thomas C. Nucifore, it took 500 workers from 1934 to 1937 to build the 63,000-foot edifice.
With massive stone pillars, brilliant chandeliers, and grand murals, the Poughkeepsie Post Office can be considered the gem of Poughkeepsie. Nucifore said the WPA constructed the building under a Dutch Colonial style. Recently, the Smithsonian Institute has recognized the building's grandeur, said Nucifore.
"The Smithsonian has chosen the Poughkeepsie Post Office among 10 post offices to represent New York in a book of the 500 most beautiful post office buildings in the country," he said.
The imposing post office in downtown Poughkeepsie does more than just sell stamps, Nucifore said.
"The WPA created a work of art," he said.
A sign on the post office wall says, the post office "...serves this community in countless ways: school children learn local history, it is a focus of historic celebrations, preservationists and planners look to it as a model for development...and the mail still arrives on time."
The WPA-contructed building also provides jobs to many City of Poughkeepsie residents. According to Nucifore, the post office building provides jobs for more than 100 people.
These postal workers transfer aproximately 300,000 pieces of mail per day, and the 10 million pieces of mail per year. Nucifore said the post office has more than 2200 customers around the community per day.
The Taconic State Parkway (TSP), another CCC project, improved the infrastructure of New York. According to a recent report from the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), the TSP spans 105 miles from the northern terminus of the Bronx River Parkway in Valhalla and ends in Columbia County, New York.
The TSP greatly affected the areas it reached, according to the DOT report.
"The population density of the southern part of the county greatly increased after the construction of the southern parkways..."



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