The 1930s: DCP Expands Despite Rough Economy

It was a time of widespread unemployment and poverty that left the majority of us trembling at the thought of a Great Depression ever crossing our paths again. But how did this time of financial instability directly influence the university, or specifically, our college?

Roughly five years after the College’s first establishment, documents from the 1930s indicated that the school kept a steady foot on the ground despite the surrounding downward-spiraling economy.

An excerpt from UF’s 1933 yearbook “The Seminole,” describes when the School of Architecture became an independent unit from engineering in 1929, the demand for additional courses grew along with the overall importance of the program.

The yearbook read, “Later there was a growing demand for additional courses in drawing, design, painting and other related subjects, so the scope of work was enlarged. On May, 1929, the name was changed to the School of Architecture and Allied Arts…with a Director, Professor Rudolph Weaver, who has built the school into one of the most important units in the University.”

Later, additional courses leading to the degree of a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Commercial Arts were created to meet those demands.

Although the 1930s was a time of financial struggle, our school managed to produce two influential programs during that time period that became vital to shaping our college: Landscape Architecture in 1933 and Building Construction in 1935.

However the case may be, the Great Depression seemed to play a role in everyone’s lives.

In his autobiography “Alfred Browning Parker: A Memoir,” well-known architectAlfred Parker gives a first-hand account of being a UF architecture student in 1935.

“I had been admitted to the School of Architecture at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and was now ready for college, but there was a problem: money,” Parker wrote in his book.

“My folks learned that our state offered all residents free tuition at the Florida public universities and we devised a plan. If my parents skimped and saved, they could come up with fifty dollars a month for college. This amount would have to cover everything – food, rent laundry, books, incidentals – and they put me on the train north.”

 

 

Top photo on page: An aerial view of campus in 1935.
Middle photo: A landscape drawing from 1931 that displays plans for trees to be planted in UF’s Plaza of the Americas.
Bottom photo: A page from the 1933 UF yearbook, The Seminole.
Photos courtesy of UF Archives.


Below are a list of facts that help shape the 1930s:

DCP facts

  • Director: Rudolph Weaver
  • 1933: A four-year course in Landscape Architecture was created
  • 1935: A five-year course leading to the Bachelor of Architecture was offered to replace the four-year course
  • 1935: A four-year program in Building Construction was established under the Department of Architecture.

UF facts

  • President of University: John Tigert (1928-47)
  • 1930: The first UF Football game was played on the Florida Field

Campus-wide student enrollment:

  • 1930: 2,252
  • 1933: 2,242
  • 1936: 2,934
  • 1939: 3,323

World events

  • 1931: U.S. officially gets National Anthem
  • 1933: FDR launches New Deal and U.S. prohibition ends
  • 1936: Spanish Civil War begins
  • 1937: Golden Gate Bridge opens
  • 1939: World War II begins
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