NOVEMBER 17, 1938
EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK, Wednesday—This morning, on a train speeding toward New York City, I awoke to my first snow scene of the year. It certainly was beautiful—fields, bushes and trees all covered with white and gleaming in the sun. How I love every aspect of our countryside where every season has its own particular beauty!
But I must go back to tell you of one more WPA project which I saw yesterday in Columbus, Ohio, and which I think really important. The idea was evolved by Ohio State University. I have seen the same thing in one other state university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There, the Governor simply pointed out to me as we drove by how they were using the space under their stadium for housing, so it made less of an impression than it did yesterday. The project in Columbus, Ohio, has been developed with WPA work and for that reason I visited it and saw how really practical it is.
In some ways I am a spendthrift, in other ways I am a hardheaded and economical person. I have always looked at our marvelous stadiums, which almost every college of any size builds, and wondered if there was not some way in which they could be utilized during a greater part of the year. After all, the football games which fill them with spectators, do leave them empty a good many days. Yesterday, at Ohio State University, I found the answer.
They are using the space under the stadium to house students who find the financial burden of college a little more than they can carry. To be admitted to these quarters, which are known as "The Tower Club," carries a considerable distinction. You are accepting no charity, for your grades must be better than "B" and you pay your own way. It only requires about $20 a month to do this. The kitchen, dining room and dormitories are well ventilated, lighted and heated. I can't say that as yet much has been done to make this particular college housing experiment attractive and homelike, but that may come. It is certainly a practical and healthy way to eat, sleep and work your way through college.
My congratulations go to Ohio State University, WPA in Columbus, Ohio, and the boys themselves who have made this project successful.
Now for a word about one other thing which has been brought to my attention. It may seem very different from the WPA project, but they have one thing in common. Both of them appeal to the imagination.
Do you know about the Temple of Religion which is being built at the World's Fair in New York City? This building will not represent one form of religion, but will stand as a symbol of all religions. In the words of Mr. William Church Osborn, it is designed to show: "Our common belief in God, a public recognition of the influences of religion on what we have achieved, and a beacon for the future." It will be built by private contribution, but the Fair has donated the site and the architect's plans seem to me beautiful and restful.