- Arcata, CA
- Site Type:
- Athletic Courts and Fields, Education and Health, Colleges and Universities
- New Deal Agencies:
- Works Progress Administration (WPA), Work Relief Programs
- Quality of Information:
- Site Survival:
- Partially Extant
Cal Poly Humboldt (formerly California State University Humboldt) began as Humboldt Teachers’ (or Normal) College in 1913 and moved to its present location on a hill northeast of Arcata, California, in 1921. Founders’ Hall was built at the top of the hill in the 1920s and the campus has filled in below over time.
During the New Deal, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built the athletic fields and bleachers at what is now known as Redwood Bowl, just east of Founders Hall. The facilities have been greatly enlarged and upgraded over the years, but the roofed bleachers on the west side are almost surely WPA in origin. Some retaining walls and stairways are probably WPA-built and the large, quonset-hut field house just might be WPA, as well.
The WPA project card approved in 1940, details the extensive work to be done: “Improve Humboldt State Teachers College campus, including constructing baseball field, parking areas, retaining walls, bleachers, backstops, guard rails, fences, sprinkler system, catch basins, manholes, field house, sidewalks, and curbs; installing drain tile and floodlight facilities; improving athletic field by grading, fIling, draining, planting lawns, and building approach steps: and performing appurtenant and incidental work.”
Total federal funding was valued at $71,291 and the local contribution was $25,917. We presume that the work was carried out in 1940-41, but that has not been confirmed.
WPA project card #165-1-08-59, approved 8/30/1940. From WPA files, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC. (there are three preceding project cards in 1937 leading up to this one -- see below)
Site originally submitted by Richard Walker on March 25, 2023.
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