Days Gone By - stories from the past

Could you sit on these hard benches with no backs for long hours in school? [1936 Photographs & film] – Skyline Farms – Part 4 –

This is the 4th part of seven in the Skyline Farms photographs series. Skyline Farms was a farm resettlement community in Jackson County, Alabama as part of the ‘New Deal’ by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide for many homeless farmers. The programs like these were considered to be too much like socialism in the 1940s and stopped. The photographs below were taken by Carl Mydans in 1936 after the school was built.


School photographs at Skyline Farms in 1936

It looks like this class is enjoying a game of Dodge Ball.

I imagine it was hard for the children to sit on hard benches with no backs for long periods of time.

Skyline farms - school scene1

Studious student!

Notice the difference in ages in this math class. Looks like they’re learning algebra.

Cute little girl!

Someone was creative and invented some unique chairs with backs. I wonder why they are only outside?

She looks a little sleepy.

This is a lot of students for one teacher.  Look at her small desk. Quite a number of boys but few girls.

Look at the boy with the book against his face. I wonder if he had problems seeing. Most do not have shoes.

Small class with mostly girls. I wonder why?

This classroom doesn’t look well-insulated. I bet it was cold in the winter.

More photographs of Skyline Farms

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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16 comments

  1. I enjoyed looking at your pictures but I disagree with some of your comments. If you look at the math board problems again you will see that they are not doing algebra. The first problem is 3 1/2 times 60 cents. Math problems during this time period in grammar schools which this was (1-8th) were real life problems that would help them with be able to do needed math for farming. The older girls were usually kept at home to help out because many fathers believed that after a certain grade education for girls wasn’t needed. My great-grandfather stopped my grandmother at 8th grade. Many did have shoes they were kept for church and other special occasions. The picture without boys might have been because they were needed for planting. Teachers were also treated with a greater degree of respect during this time period. Large groups of students were not as big of an issue because children were taught that they were not to act up or face consequences from parents. In fact many teachers were looked on as being in the “upper class” in the social hierarchy. I am a teacher from Scottsboro and before my grandparents passed away did many interviews with them about life in the depression. I also had family who were part of the Skyline project. It would be interesting to find out if any of these children are still alive and hear their stories.

  2. I agree with Tina Benson. Back in the days there was respect for teachers as well as for all adults. Behavior problems would be addressed by the parent. That is no longer the case even parents are nasty to teachers and in front of their children. If behavior were not an issue even if a teacher had 30-40 students in the class they would be able to teach. However, the only downfall to that is that there is no opportuniy for teachers to be able to give students the individual attention that they need. Another challenge with the that is the amount of paper work that teachers must complete. If I had a choice I would prefer to have to deal with the paper work if I could only teach and not worry about behavior problems.

    That is still the case in many other Latin countries.

    1. John H. Allen

      God had nothing to do with it. Eleanor Roosevelt has a LOT to do with it.

  3. Skyline Farms is a creature of the Resettlement Administration, a depression-era agency which bought up large tracts of land, 18k, in the case of Skyline, and resettled people trapped, many as sharecroppers, on worn-out lands. Although most of their efforts were concentrated on the southwest, they also created a number of communities in the Appalachians and Cumberland Plateau. The experiments weren’t a success, in part because the land wasn’t particularly arable, without extensive amendment and fertilization. Now, Skyline is largely a bedroom community. Most of the inhabitants commute to Scottsboro and other towns to work. Part of the original acreage is now in the Skyline Game Management area… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resettlement_Administration

  4. Ms Causey:
    I really enjoyed this piece. Most of my relatives are natives of the mountains of Jackson County, AL, and were residents during the New Deal Projects. My folks referred to the Skyline project as the “Colony”. Some distant cousins still live in the area.

    FDR is to be commended for this and several other government projects ( CCC. RSA. TVA, WPA) that snatched our nation from the jaws of Depression & starvation. I feel that as much as anything it gave the masses hope in an era of despair. I have had several relatives that made careers & retired from the TVA.

    I too am a free lance writer living in Talladega. I enjoy all your material and pass it on just as I will this too. Just a note in passing, a dear friend, Dr. George Ricker, grew up on a Cumberland Mountain farm where the Apple Orcherds are now and is retired living here in Talladega. He is the retired Director of Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center here in Talladega.

    Keep up the excellent work.
    James W. Anderson
    Talladega, LA
    (256)761-1484

  5. Tony Davis

    At my mother’s very rural school in Caddo Gap, Arkansas there was no running water, so children would make cups from a sheet of Big Chief tablet paper and get a drink from a nearby spring. Times have changed!

  6. I lived at skyline 1942-1945.Attended the Rock school.I have fond memories,but they were tough times too.

  7. Melissa Lowman

    The page can’t be found.

  8. Randall Teagle

    IT DID NOT BOTHER THEM THEN I DONT SEE WHY IT SHOULD BOTHER THESE KID TODAY.

  9. Lakin Cross

    Seats are just as hard 82 years later.

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