Great Depression focus of upcoming Berrien County History Center program

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Curator Robert Myers will present the program “Berrien County in the Great Depression” at the History Center at Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs on at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28.

Admission is free. The History Center is located at 313 N. Cass Street (M-139) in Berrien Springs.

The program is the first of three monthly programs in the History Center’s annual “Winter at Courthouse Square” series.

The programs are scheduled for the fourth Thursday of January, February and March.

“Berrien County in the Great Depression” is a new PowerPoint program that explores the impact of America’s worst economic calamity on local businesses, farms and residents. Farm prices plummeted and many local farm families lost their homes through foreclosure. Factories drowning in red ink laid off thousands of workers and cut wages for others.

Berrien County, which had not voted for a Democratic Party candidate since Franklin Pierce in 1852, helped elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide in 1932.

Roosevelt’s New Deal programs put millions of Americans back to work in a wide array of programs, including the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the National Youth Administration.

Local projects included the construction of post offices in St. Joseph and Buchanan and the renovation of the Chapin House carriage house in Niles for the Fort St. Joseph Museum.

Out of the Depression came new programs and reforms that still affect America today, including Social Security, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and banking regulations.

For more information about the program, contact the History Center at (269) 471-1202 or email