City Struggled with Depression in 1933

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City Struggled with Depression in 1933


Like the economic depression we are in today, the depression of the early 1930's caused many persons to be unemployed, and the real estate market to be poor. The 1930's depression also showed up in the way property taxes were assessed and collected by the City of Richmond. In July, 1933, the total amount of city taxes to be collected was set at $97,437.21, which was $48.19 less than the total taxes that were assessed in Richmond for the previous year. Things had been so bad in 1932 that the tax board had placed into effect a blanket 10% reduction in the assessments given in 1933, because, in the opinion of the board, property values were no worse than in 1931 (which had been bad enough). Sixty years ago, separate property lists were kept for white and black property owners. City property assessments for whites in 1933 amounted to $91,617.45, and for blacks $5,819.76. Things certainly have changed a lot, haven't they? In the Jury 6, 1933, city council meeting, the most important business was the approval of the assessments and the assigning of the collection of taxes to the acting city tax collector, Green Clay. Other matters they acted upon at that same meeting concerned Richmond's streets, the gas company, and a bulk oil storage facility. The street committee was instructed to apply the federal government for funds for the reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of Main Street and North Second Street, which had been designated as portions of federal highways. These funds were requested under the provisions of the National Industrial (depression) Recovery Act The firm of Black & Veatch of Kansas City was selected for the rebuilding of the city-owned gas distribution system. This project was financed by federal funds obtained from the Recon-struction Finance Corporation, another federal program to aid in the recovery from the depression. The R.F.C. provided $40,000 for the work, taking gas revenue bonds as security. After considerable discussion in that July, 1933, city council meeting, the Standard Oil Co. was permitted to rebuild its distribution plant at the intersection of Estill Ave. and the L&N railroad, which had been destroyed by fire. The company was required to build a four-foot earth dike around each tank.


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “City Struggled with Depression in 1933,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed June 15, 2024,