Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church photograph
@ Ohio History Connection
Ohio Federal Writers' Project
DescriptionDated November 12, 1936, this photograph shows the entrance to the Underground Railroad passages in the southwest corner inside the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, located on Seventh and Smith Streets in Cincinnati, Ohio. The church was constructed in 1869 and the parsonage in 1871. Although the church was built after the Civil War (1861-1865), the congregation believed slavery might return, and thus built underground tunnels that left from the church to the network of secret passageways in downtown Cincinnati, fully prepared to revive the Underground Railroad. This photograph is one of the many visual materials collected for use in the Ohio Guide. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration by executive order to create jobs for the large numbers of unemployed laborers, as well as artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The Federal Arts Program, a sector of the Works Progress Administration, included the Federal Writers’ Project, one of the primary goals of which was to complete the America Guide series, a series of guidebooks for each state which included state history, art, architecture, music, literature, and points of interest to the major cities and tours throughout the state. Work on the Ohio Guide began in 1935 with the publication of several pamphlets and brochures. The Reorganization Act of 1939 consolidated the Works Progress Administration and other agencies into the Federal Works Administration, and the Federal Writers’ Project became the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio. The final product was published in 1940 and went through several editions....