• Marci Shadd

Franklin D Roosevelt's contribution to our community - Biggs Municipal Building 1936

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

In the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised the American people a “New Deal.” Over the decade 1933-43, several federally sponsored programs put millions of jobless Americans back to work and helped to revive a crumbling economy. The result was a rich landscape of public works across the nation, often of outstanding beauty, utility and craftsmanship – all built to serve civic purposes.

In Chico, the Bidwell bowl was constructed with these funds, and Gridley was able to build McKinley Elementary School with their portion. As banks collapsed, and jobs lost, this influx of monies helped support the small communities in our area from further collapse.

Biggs was also lucky enough to be a recipient of one of these contributions. Starting in November of 1935 and completed in June of 1936 our own Biggs Municipal Building was constructed. This standard brick building was built specifically to house a fire truck, included one jail cell as well as a courtroom. It was noted to serve 1500 people at the total grand expense of $3122.27, of which $1215.28 was federally funded.

I remember taking a field trip to the building as a child and and brushing my hands along the bars of the jail cell. It's funny the small details that you notice when you are young. Today the building sits locked up, used as storage for Christmas decorations. We have so few historic buildings left in Biggs, I sincerely hope that we as a community will step up, to revitalize these spaces before they are lost forever. It may be too late for most of them, but this amazing representation of local & federal restoration still sits tall, with strong bones and potential for greatness again.

You can read more about this program and it's reach in Butte County at the following link:


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