National and State Register

Pleasant Valley School (Branson)

Las Animas County

Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938, the Pleasant Valley School presents an important visual record of the federal relief programs administered in Colorado’s eastern plains during the Great Depression.  Though the dire economic conditions of the Depression affected all of Colorado, drought and dust storms hit the agricultural-based economy of the Eastern Plains especially hard.  President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislative agenda to rescue the United States from the Great Depression included the creation of an unprecedented number of policies, programs, and agencies to provide relief, employment, conserve natural resources, and assist in construction of public works - all with the greater goal of stimulating the devastated economy.

A front view of the building with brick wall with central entrance and two windows on either side with hipped roof and chimney on the right with a field around.

Pleasant Valley School (2007 photograph.)

Criticized by some as make-work boondoggles, WPA projects such as the construction of the school provided much-needed employment in an isolated, rural area of Las Animas County where little other work was available.  The stonework displays the labor-intensive, hand-craftsmanship associated with the WPA and often referred to as WPA Rustic style.  The property is associated with the New Deal Resources on Colorado’s Eastern Plains and Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submissions.