Arthurdale, WV

Arthurdale, WV chestnut planting

Arthurdale is a small, unincorporated community in northern West Virginia (Preston County).  It was one of 98 planned communities that were part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.  The town was built in 1933 at the height of the depression as a social experiment to provide opportunities for local farmers and miners.  The plan was to create a community that was self-sustaining where residents could live and work in industries that sustained the community.  Arthurdale, named for the landowner, Richard Arthur,  was one of Eleanor Roosevelt’s chief priorities.  Modest homes were built with indoor plumbing and electricity along with refrigerators personally chosen by Mrs. Roosevelt.  Each property had 2-5 acres to allow families to raise food and livestock.  A total of 165 homes were built.  In the town’s early years, Mrs. Roosevelt spent most of her own income on this project.  The only high school commencement address of his presidency was delivered by President Roosevelt in 1938 at the Arthurdale school.

A small chestnut planting was established by WV chapter board member, Robert Sypolt, adjacent to the building that now serves as a museum.