Tyler area resident John Moore, 88, looks fondly back at his formative years in the New York City Harlem River Houses. He has spent decades researching and celebrating the community as a pastime.
The Harlem River Houses were built in 1937 as part of a New Deal and Works Progress Administration project.
“We had all sorts of programs. Athletic, social programs all run by the tenants themselves. Even kindergarten and day care,” Moore said. “During the summertime, I recall not having to leave the grounds for weeks, because I had everything I needed.”
Moore has spent years looking into other New Deal era housing projects and believes the Harlem River Houses were unique. He credits that tight-knit sense of community with the impressive results residents have attained in their personal lives.
“The amazing thing, during the research, looking at the people who came from the Harlem River Houses, is what they achieved,” he said. “It’s just phenomenal for that development to have produced that level of people who were so successful.”
When Moore heard about the Smith County Historical Society’s plans to bring in a documentary about the works of the WPA administration, he was eager to share his story.
Moore will be joined by Greta Moore-Dixon, a former Harlem music teacher from Tyler, who will help the historical society in presenting a showing of Michael Maglaras’ “Enough to Live On: The Arts of the WPA” at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6 at the Tyler Public Library.