NOVEMBER 19, 1940
JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Monday—Yesterday I spent the day in Canton, Ohio. We visited President McKinley's tomb, which is very imposing and must be very beautiful in summer with the water in the pools below it. A great deal of WPA work has been done to improve the park system and Canton seems a pleasant place in which to live.
I had the privilege of visiting there a very beautiful old lady, who has evidently won a great place for herself in the hearts of her fellow citizens. Mrs. Goodman may be bed-ridden today, and she has certainly had her share of personal sorrows, but if achievement is measured in terms of the influence which people have over their neighbors, I should say that her life has been eminently successful. Everyone who spoke of her, did so with affection and appreciation.
After my afternoon lecture, we took the train for Johnstown, Pa., and arrived here about midnight last night. So far, the day has been busy and very interesting. I visited the Red Cross Roll Call Headquarters and saw some of the garments which they are turning out and shipping to Great Britain and Finland. Then I went with the Mayor to see the flood control work which the Federal Government is helping them to put through.
Two terrible floods have visited Johnstown, the one in 1889 cost the city a great many lives. Seven-hundred-and-seventy-three people were never identified, and up in the cemetery on the hill the unmarked stones are placed in rows as they are in Arlington Cemetery in Washington. One monument is erected to all those unidentified dead. The recent flood cost the city some $40,000,000, but fortunately only a few lives were lost in the whole county.
The work of dredging the two rivers, which will in the future safeguard the population from the ravages of the past, is in full swing and I was much interested to see it. The President inspected this work and told me of it some time ago, so I know he will be glad to hear of the progress made.
It is easy to see that a city, which has suffered as this one has, must take advantage of whatever help the State and Federal Government can give. For the future, these expenditures to prevent recurring disasters, will be a saving not only to the community, but to the state and the nation.
The NYA director took us over to his office after lunch and we saw the woodworking shop where much good work is being turned out by the boys. They are about to build a resident project here with a shop which will give valuable training in skills to many of the boys of the State. The plans were shown me and the work is already beginning. The boys were digging today to find out what the conditions would be for foundation work.
At 5:00 o'clock, a few of the Democratic women leaders are coming to call and, after my lecture this evening, we take the train to Henderson, North Carolina.