There’s a reason why the Great Depression lingers in the minds of modern Americans. In just four years (between 1929 and 1933), the stock market lost 90 percent of its value. During the same period, national unemployment rates jumped from 1 in 33 to 1 in 4. Family incomes dropped 40 percent, and 300,000 companies went bankrupt.
Then, in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt smashed incumbent Herbert Hoover in the presidential election. Roosevelt took 472 of the 531 available electoral college votes, and won the popular vote by 7 million. Following his landslide victory, Roosevelt enacted his famous New Deal. This revolutionary series of laws and programs were designed to put Americans back to work.
Among other things, that meant getting professionals back to land surveying during the Great Depression in Texas and the greater United States.
Creating new jobs
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal ultimately created nearly 100 new government offices and more than 40 agencies. One of the most important projects to the new president was the creation of extensive road projects. That meant recruiting an army of land surveyors.
Land surveying exploded during the Great Depression. Across the country, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration set about hiring land surveyors and civil engineers to accomplish a massive number of goals. This meant hiring more than 15,000 trained surveyors.
Off to a rough start
When the New Deal swung into action, the goal wasn’t so much to accomplish tasks as it was to get people back to work. That’s why, when surveyors went back to work in the winter of 1933, they did so with a serious shortage of both surveying equipment and the vehicles required to get to the places they were supposed to survey.
That lack of equipment didn’t stop the assessors from getting to work, however. Land surveys were completed within the majority of states by the year 1935. More than 20,000 miles of leveling, 1,200 miles of triangulation and 14,000 miles of traverse were completed during the initial push.
Fighting through the Depression
Though the tough economic climate in the United States would endure for a few years following the first programs of the New Deal, the impact on land surveying was incalculable. Not only did the Federal Emergency Relief Administration get land surveyed for the first time in the nation’s history, but when tools and equipment did arrive where they needed to be, thousands of land surveyors got a crash course on the most modern surveying methods available.
Your surveying experts
Land surveying during the Great Depression helped push the entire industry forward. That proud tradition of innovation is something we’re happy to continue in Texas at D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc., one of the state’s premier land surveying firms.
Since we opened our doors in 1977, we have provided highly accurate boundary surveys, elevation certificates, pipeline surveys, title surveys, boundary dispute mediation and more. We take immense pride in our accuracy and customer service.
If you have need of the state’s best land surveyors, come to D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. Contact us online today—we can’t wait to hear from you.