Chapter

Conclusion: A Main Street Modernized

in Modernizing Main Street

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226218007
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226218021 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226218021.003.0007
Conclusion: A Main Street Modernized

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December 1941 is often regarded as the symbolic end of the Great Depression, since the war mobilization that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor revived the economy more quickly and intensively, through the stimulation of industrial production and widespread building activity, than the New Deal ever had. As the war effort of the early 1940s gradually obviated the need for building modernization as an economic stimulus, the federal mechanism that made it possible, the Modernization Credit Plan, was retooled in response to the new national emergency. Specifically, in 1943, when defense housing priorities forced the exclusion of non-residential (that is, commercial) properties from the loan insurance program established through Title I of the 1934 National Housing Act, the Federal Housing Administration's effort to modernize Depression-era Main Streets officially came to an end. In the 1930s Reading, in Pennsylvania, was a medium-sized city with a population of 111,000 inhabitants. As the seat of Berks County, Reading was the social, political, and economic focus for the predominantly agricultural communities that surrounded it. It was also a faultless embodiment of Main Street.

Keywords: Great Depression; New Deal; Reading; Pennsylvania; Main Street; Modernization Credit Plan; modernization; Federal Housing Administration

Chapter.  7648 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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