Chapter 2, Part 2 – 1930-1940: Survival

1930-1940: Survival

  • Clarence Birdseye packaged frozen vegetables.
  • Empire State Building opened in New York City.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover for the presidency.
  • Works Progress Administration put millions to work.
  • 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ended prohibition.
  • Social Security Act established a financial safety net for elderly.
  • Golden Gate Bridge was completed in San Francisco.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act established national minimum wage.
  • J. Edgar Hoover became the first director of FBI.
  • Albert Einstein arrived in the U.S. as a fugitive from Nazi Germany.

No one was spared the economic collapse that followed the 1929 stock market crash. The resulting havoc lasted 11 years and touched all aspects of American life. Businesses failed, real estate values plummeted, personal incomes evaporated, industry ground to a halt, crop prices fell and international trade vanished.

Although the details of devastation that befell PCC are not well-documented, sufficient evidence exists to demonstrate the college labored under harsh financial conditions.

Within a short period of time, the college could not afford the rent at 125 Grand Avenue North. On December 14, 1930, a meeting of the PCC board was called “…for the purpose of discussing the proposition of having to move, due to the uncertainty of the present lease.” Dr. Budden informed the other members of the board that the Lloyd Boulevard Hospital was seeking to lease the Sechtem Building, one block away at 20 Grand Avenue North. The board authorized Dr. Budden to negotiate a sublease with the hospital. Five days later, on December 19th, Dr. Budden informed the other members of the board that the hospital and the college had agreed on terms and a lease was being formulated for ratification and signatures.

Budden rents the Sechtum Building.

The move to the Sechtem Building at 20 Grand Avenue North did little to improve the college’s financial situation. Just a year and a half later on July 5, 1932, the PCC board met at the Sechtem Building to discuss the latest threat to the college’s survival. The college had received a letter from the Lloyd Boulevard Hospital notifying them “…to vacate the building for non-payment of rent.” PCC evicted from hospital building.

Dr. Budden informed the other members of the board that it had become impossible to make monthly payments on the lease. At that meeting the board considered filing for bankruptcy, but instead, chose to “…endeavor to liquidate its debt, if possible.” The board decided to suspend active business, while maintaining a skeleton organization to manage accounts receivable and payment of debt. Dr. Budden was authorized to manage the financial affairs of the corporation as best he could – for $75 per month.