Douglass Community Center
In 1937, when the Resettlement Administration was turned over to the Farm Security Administration, the proposed farmstead community at Haywood Farms, Douglass Community, was still in the land acquisition stage. Within a year, the Farm Security Administration had “built or repaired 100 houses for tenant farmers in West Tennessee at an average cost of $211 per room, or $2,050 per farmstead, including barns, fences, wells, smokehouses and other outbuildings” (100 tenants aided in state, p. 2). This included the Haywood Farms Project, where 19 homes were nearly completed by then.
The contract for construction of 34 complete farm units of four buildings each was awarded to W. O. Wyatt, Jackson contractor. Future plans included a community building and school for the farmstead, and plans were under way for the school within another month. Houses were 4-room frame houses, 36’8” by 22’8” and included a stock barn, poultry house and smoke house, and a well.
At completion, the Haywood Farms contained 56 units, with more than 100 acres of farm land each, and the first crop season was begun in April 1939. Crops included strawberries, fruit trees, grapevines, sweet and Irish potatoes.
The agency also constructed the Douglass school for grades 1-10. Originally a frame building, the school was later bricked and windows/doors altered. Both the school, the community center, and many of the original houses are still extant and in use. The community holds a homecoming celebration annually in August and remains an active community to this day.
Brownsville R. A. Offices Moves to City. (May 13, 1937). The Jackson Sun, p. 1, 3.
100 Tenants Aided in State. (Jun. 14, 1938). The Leaf Chronicle, p. 2.
Final Details of Contract to City Man Approved. (Feb. 12, 1939). The Jackson Sun, p. 1.
FSA Parleys. (Mar. 21, 1939). The Jackson Sun, p. 9.
Haywood Farms Opening First Crop Planting. (Apr. 27, 1939). The Jackson Sun, p. 16.
Van West, C. (2001). Tennessee's New Deal Landscape. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.
Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on September 11, 2019.
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