Iconic Depression Setting Makes Do Amid Recession

Could things get as bad for Sallisaw, Okla., as they did in the 1930s?
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2009 5:46 PM CDT
Iconic Depression Setting Makes Do Amid Recession
A clock celebrating Oklahoma's centennial stands in a Sallisaw park.   (City of Sallisaw)

Many have made the parallel between the current economic slump and the Great Depression. Interested in pursuing the connection, Rafael Alvarez visited Sallisaw, Okla., an icon of the troubled 1930s as the setting of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, he writes for the Christian Science Monitor. The downturn was slower to reach Sallisaw than financial centers like New York; February found the town’s finances steady.

A month later, however, housing sales are close to zero while hotel and tax revenue is down. “We were seeing two or three foreclosures a week,” said the owner of a local bank, noting that while farming has remained unscathed, “I feel like we’re going to see slower times this summer.” (Read more Great Depression stories.)

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