Kuiper sits and looks at a life-sized triceratops statue.

Dinosaur Park and the New Deal

Zoomed out view of Kuiper with triceratops.

Kuiper discusses Keynesian economics with his new friend Spikey the Triceratops. Spikey was made possible by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

There was a crazy windstorm 🌬️ here today, so here is another South Dakota pic from our summer roadtrip. 🌞 Spikey and the rest of Dinosaur Park (free! dog friendly! 🐶) are located in Rapid City. They were constructed in 1936 as part of the New Deal, a set of government programs aimed at stimulating the economy during the Great Depression.

On this day in 1935, Congress voted to approve the creation of an entity called the Works Progress Administration. 🏗️ Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA employed 8.5 million people and built a massive amount of infrastructure. The WPA built roads and bridges, parks and playgrounds 🏞️, airports, hospitals, zoos, swimming pools, military bases, schools 🏫, sewer lines, sidewalks, water processing plants💧, stadiums, ice skating arenas, ski jumps, indoor and outdoor theaters 🎭, golf courses, cemeteries, libraries, museums, universities, post offices 📮, and dams. The cost of the projects was split between federal, state and local agencies, and the vast majority were planned and executed locally.

In addition to construction, workers also contributed to conservation. They planted 177 million trees🌲🌳across the country, cleaned up acid-polluted waterways by sealing 187k abandoned coal mine ⛏️ shafts (in OH and PA alone), and built 300 fish hatcheries. And according to “Final Report on the WPA Program” (1946), “Depleted oyster beds were planted with more than 8 million bushels of oysters.”

A small fraction of the money was allocated to public art🗽, which allowed the creation of Dinosaur Park, WPA project #960. The idea came from a city council member who had seen a dinosaur at the Chicago World’s Fair. 🎡 Upon approval of the project, paleontologist Barnum Brown (discoverer of the T Rex) sent the city exact measurements for the sculptures.

Beyond Dinosaur Park, the vast majority of WPA projects are still in use today. If you’re in the US, you can check out livingnewdeal.org/map to see what’s near you. I’d love to hear what you find!

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhS-wVDAvKm/

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