Welcome to Norvelt, PA: Background information when reading Dead End in Norvelt

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Dead End in Norvelt

by Jack Gantos

Dead End in Norvelt
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 352 pages
    May 2013, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Welcome to Norvelt, PA

"Our dear little Norvelt was founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, who knew common people like us wanted equality..."

The town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, one of 99 subsistence homestead communities created during the Depression for unemployed workers, is a character in Jack Gantos's Dead End in Norvelt. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the idea behind this residential area "was for each homesteader to become independent of government help, and for each cooperative community to eventually become self-supporting... Each family got a 1.6- to 7-acre plot, a house, a garage, a chicken coop, fruit trees and a grape arbor, as well as a stove, refrigerator and farming tools." Today, a historical marker still in the area describes its history:

Originally called "Westmoreland Homesteads," the town was established April 13, 1934, by the federal government as part of a New Deal homestead project. With approximately 250 homes, it provided housing, work, and a community environment to ...

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