15 Rare Photos Taken In Rhode Island During The Great Depression

The Great Depression struck in October 1929 when the stock market crashed more significantly than the nation had ever experienced. Millions of Americans were left without work by the early 1930s and nearly half all US banks were forced to close. Rhode Island was already experiencing heightened unemployment prior to the crash due to issues with state manufacturing companies. Plants were beginning to age and labor was more expensive compared to Southern factories. Public work relief kept many thousands of former textile workers with some employment, but the state still reeled from the closing of dozens of major factories and mills which had previously employed almost half of the state.

The depression struck rural areas and factory towns the hardest. These photos from the Library of Congress shows what life was like for many Rhode Islanders during this trying time in our nation’s history.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

Do you remember Rhode Island during the Great Depression, or have you had family members share what it was like? Click here for rare historical footage of Rhode Island from the 1940s.