MAY 27, 1940
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Mrs. Morgenthau and I rose early on Friday morning and went with the NYA State Director, Mr. Callahan, to see the four houses in which the resident NYA boys at Arthurdale are living. These boys certainly do a thorough job of housekeeping. Everything was spic and span and I think this project will develop into something really valuable for the community. Immediately after this inspection, we started on our drive from Arthurdale to Wheeling, W. Va., which seemed short. Strange to say, we found ourselves ahead of schedule.
Our first stop was to be a few miles outside of Wheeling. A mine superintendent had written to ask me if I would spend five minutes beside the road, for some of his men wanted a chance to see me. I did so and they presented me a letter from which I quote, because it shows what can be done when people of goodwill meet together.
"There exists here a fine spirit of cooperation between the employees and the employer. Under the union agreement, all grievances are taken up with the proper officials and a settlement reached that is satisfactory to all concerned.
"In tribute to the efficient and humanitarian policy adhered to by the management, I might say that the mines are operating with a minimum of labor saving machinery and everything that is humanly possible has been done to provide work for as many men as possible under the circumstances. This is all the more noteworthy when one takes into consideration the fact that competition is very keen in the coal business and the installation of modern machinery by the other companies has made that competition the harder to meet.
"The officials of the coal company are also to be commended for their treatment of the aged coal miners, since not a single employee has been laid off due to advanced age."
Next we stopped off at the little WPA nursery school in a room over a garage. In that one room the food for the children is cooked in a corner. Their cots are put out when it is time to sleep. All their clothes and washing things are neatly hung on pegs along the wall and the few toys and educational material which they have are kept on shelves and brought out when the room is cleared of cots and food. Not the most ideal situation under which to care for little children, but still the children looked well and those in charge told me they had gained in weight.
Then we lunched at Oglebay Park. This park is something pleasant to think about, but it seems a little hard to reach if you are short of cash and have a family to take out for a holiday. It is wild and beautiful in spots, the different camp sites are charming and the bridle paths and walking trails are a joy. I am very proud of the swimming pool and the building which goes with it where dances and parties may be held, for it is one of the best construction jobs I have seen done by WPA.