Great Depression and World War II

Postcard of the Merritt Parway, Conn.
Postcard of the Merritt Parkway, Conn.Fairfield Museum and History Center

Great Depression and World War II (1929–1945)

Governor Wilbur Cross helped navigate Connecticut’s course through the Great Depression. After a devastating collapse in the stock market that led to massive unemployment, Connecticut’s initial plan for recovery relied partly on employing residents in public works projects. This included the production of numerous outdoor sculptures now synonymous with our state, as well as the opening of the Merritt Parkway (the largest public works project in Connecticut until that time). Industries such those operated by Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney kept the recovery moving forward, while those who could afford it, took temporary leave of their troubles at the recently opened playhouses in Ivoryton and Westport. Ultimately, as was the case in most of America, the military build-up in the years preceding World War II helped jump-start the economy through its demand for products such as General Electric’s “Launcher, Rocket AT, M-1,” better known as the “bazooka.”

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Assembly of parachute flare casings

Munitions Assembly Line 1943

The women and factory depicted in this picture are unknown, but it represents Connecticut’s long held vital role in the... Read more » …[more]

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