Member Timothy Kelly recently co-authored with two colleagues, Margaret Power (Illinois Institute of Technology) and Michael Cary (Seton Hill University), Hope in Hard Times: Norvelt and the Struggle for Community During the Great Depression which will be published in June 2016 by Penn State University Press. The book traces the history of a subsistence homestead community built during the Great Depression to house unemployed coal miners and others from Westmoreland County in southwestern Pennsylvania. The community was one of four designed specifically for unemployed coal miners, and aimed to provide dignified lives for those struggling amidst great poverty. The other three communities were located in West Virginia and Tennessee. This history focuses primarily on the years during which the federal government was heavily involved with the community (1934-1946), and one chapter examines the domestic architecture directly.
In the midst of the Great Depression, 250 desperate families in western Pennsylvania joined a federally sponsored program to create a new kind of community. They helped build and then moved into modest homes on generous plots with ample gardens that helped to feed the men, women and children who called Norvelt home. They undertook a great experiment in cooperative living that many hoped would spur similar efforts throughout the country. This book conveys their successes and struggles as they shaped the community that remains vibrant today.