Great Depression in Weber County

Students Selling Items to Pay for Tuition

The Great Depression in Weber County, Utah, is an Oral History Project by Mack S. Taft for completion of his Master’s Thesis at Utah State University during the summer of 1969. The forty-five interviews address the Great Depression through the eyes of individuals in several different occupations including: Bankers, Laborers, Railroad Workers, Attorneys, Farmers, Educators, Businessmen, Community and Church Leaders, Housewives, Children and Physicians. All of these individuals lived in Weber County from 1929 to 1941. The interviews were based on what they remembered about the depression, how they felt about those events and how it affected their life then and now.

Alida Alberts reminisces about her husband's paycheck from American Park and Swift during the Depression and financial hardship related to transportation and home buying. She also describes a doctor's house call when her baby was sick and administered to by her LDS father. The interview took place circa 1960s.

Dr. Anderson recalls his education as a physician and beginning a private practice during the Depression. He practiced for the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroads, and for the Magna smelters, and also covered local doctors’ practices while they were on vacation. He describes taking produce for pay, paying house calls, and the closing of the Grantsville Deseret Bank. He compares early medical practice to modern practice, including the threat of malpractice lawsuits. The interview took place circa 1960s.

Herbert Barnes recalls working in a CC camp during the Depression, the closure of the Ogden State Bank, and recreation during those years. He also talks about converting people to the Mormon Church while working in the camp, and the need to move from one job to another after he left it. The interview took place circa 1960s.

Morris Barrett recalls gaining an education at the Weber Normal School, teaching and serving as principal in Eden during the Depression, teaching at Weber High School, and serving as principal and teacher at Hooper Junior High School. The interview took place circa 1960s.

Frank K. Bartlett discusses 50 years of medical practice in Ogden, including during the Depression, starting the first laboratory in the basement of the Dee Hospital, and trying to cure disease without antibiotics. He also talks about finance and the stock market before, during, and after the Depression, and building a house for very little during those years. The interview took place circa 1960s.

A. Parley Bates and his wife discuss their careers in education and hard times during the Depression. They lost some money in the closure of the Ogden State Bank. Both taught in the public schools, and Parley Bates was principal at Roy Elementary and at Weber County High School, as well as superintendent of Weber County Public Schools. The interview took place circa 1960s.

J. Levi Beus and Mrs. Beus share their memories of the Depression years, what they did to get by and the lessons they learned from their experiences, especially focusing on how they provided for their family. The interview took place circa 1960s.

Jay Richard Beus talks about farming during the Depression, entertainment at the White City ballroom, and the community pulling together to solve problems. The interview took place circa 1960s.

Arthur P. Brown discusses his county commissioner experience during the post-Depression years. The interview took place circa 1960s.

William Arthur Budge discusses his experiences at Commercial Security Bank at the start of the Depression. When the Ogden State Bank closed, there was a run on Commercial Security and other banks. However, Commercial Security paid out people's accounts, served sandwiches, and stayed open late until public confidence was restored and people began banking again. He also briefly discusses the beginnings of the LDS Church's welfare program. The interview took place circa 1960s.