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Public Housing for Miners

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Time Frame: 1929-1939

Miners living near Granger, Iowa, worked only part of the year. Their families lived in shacks. A priest helped acquire better housing for the miners and their families.
Iowa Heritage Hard Times
©1979
Iowa Public Television

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Transcript

For miners, living in the coal camps near Granger, Iowa, conditions had always been bad. Some miners could count on having work only a few hours a week. They needed a better way for getting food on the family table.

They lived in very poor shacks—we may say—four roomed houses; no matter what the size of the family was. There was no running water; there was no electricity. I felt that these people working only part time should be employed at least during their non-working days and non-working months at something.

Father Luigi Ligutti, pastor of the Assumption Church in Granger, sought a way for the miners to grow their own food and have a pride in owning their own homes. Father Ligutti was responsible for obtaining government approval for one of the first public housing projects in the nation.

So he figured if he could get these homesteads out here, we could be working, raise your own meat, raise your own vegetables and even raise vegetables to sell.

Each of the 50 homes were set on approximately five acres of land to provide small garden plots for the occupants.

But when we moved out here it was altogether different. We had running water—which we never had before—and we had a furnace and the conditions were much better then they were in the mining camps.

I believe in human beings. I believe that the human beings had tremendous abilities and possibilities and if properly handled, all human beings can be both socially and economically productive.

 


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