The Depression Decade


Census: 4,427 (a 223% increase since 1920) reflecting an unprecedented building boom during the twenties, following World War I.

This decade will be remembered mostly for the “Depression,” the WPA (Works Progress Administration), the PWA (Public Works Administration), Highway construction, our Senior High School, our own wells for water, a lot of “helpfulness to others” and the beginning of the draft as World War II was just around the comer. Also, Robbinsdale became a “City.”

Under the WPA program, Robbinsdale began building sanitary sewers.

Clay tile sections two feet long (which one man could carry) were used, which over the years permitted many entrances for the roots of trees, thus causing clogging and breaking. A continuous program of replacement by iron pipe will go on for years. The manholes were built with bricks and are still in good condition. (WD)

History repeated itself in Robbinsdale. On Saturday, April 19th and for the second time in seven years a bandit was hot and fatally wounded after holding up the State Security Bank. From Left to right among the headlines above are, Patrolman John Bloberger Jr., of the Robbinsdale Police Force, who shot the bandit; Ted Haight, bank janitor, who ran to tell Bloberger of the hold up and L. Chouinard , 1094 13th Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, assistant cashier at the bank who made a clever escape from the bank to bring help.

In the early 1930’s there was a beautiful Rock Garden Ball Room, south of Wuollet’s Bakery, which featured “big bands.” After a few years, it became a bowling alley and in 1941 it burned to the ground. Fire Chief Howard Hommes said the whole building was ablaze before the fire was discovered, around 11 p.m., even though it was so close to the fire station. Hommes served on the Fire Department for 35 years.

This post is part of a series loosely based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodget.