The marquis of the greenbelt movie theater. I couldn’t get inside, but I’m sure it’s awesome in there. The shopping center wherein the theatre is located is operated as a co-op by the citizens of greenbelt.
This Art Deco workforce seems to have an unparalleled combination of strength, determination, hope, and acceptance of their lot in life. They are sturdy, hardworking Americans. These workers come to us from a sculpture embedded in the walls of the Greenbelt Community Center, formerly the town’s elementary school.
The building, which features many architectural embellishments of it’s day, as features a series of these reliefs depicting the preamble of the Constitution. This particular frame is depicting the result of the Government’s promotion of the general welfare.
The artist of these sculptures is named Lenore Thomas, a sculptor for the WPA. I’ve tried to find examples of her work outside of Greenbelt, but can only see a reference to one more sculpture located in Maine.
Welcome to Greenbelt, a community that was planned by the government during the depression as a result of new deal programs. It was one of only a three such communities spread throughout the country, but it’s proximity to Washington, seemed to add to its importance and was certainly responsible for the frequency of visits from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during it’s construction.
Like most planned communities it called for all the things necessary to create self sufficiency. There would be a grocery store, a community center, school, and recreation facilities.
Today the name “Greenbelt” has taken over as the identifier of much of the area surrounding its historic core. I went years without ever knowing that greenbelt was more than just strip malls and restaurants. While there are highways and major roads criss-crossing modern day greenbelt, the Art Deco inspired center of the town is still standing and still thriving. Even the sign pictured today is a remnant from the town’s WPA past as it could easily sit outside of a National Park.
This week MDP is going to visit some of the town’s attractions.
Today’s picture comes from the Summer, which seems like it was way more than just 4 months ago. This is the Patapsco river, as seen from Patapsco Valley State Park, which is an excellent place to find some isolation. This time of year, it’s still popular as a spot for mountain biking. Later this week, we’ll discuss something else significant about the park.