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        Electricity and Plumbing Change Rural Farm Life in the Early 20th Century

        Learn how the 1930s brought changes to work and life on the farm with increasing numbers of rural farm families with access to electricity and indoor plumbing in this video from Iowa Public Television. 

        Although nearly 90 percent of urban households had electricity by the 1930s, only 10 percent of rural households had access. The cost to bring power lines to remote farm homes was too expensive for private utility companies, so the government stepped in to help with creation of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in 1935.

        As farmers gained access to electricity, they wanted more modern amenities such as indoor plumbing. But even in 1940, most Midwest farms did not yet have indoor toilets, showers and bathtubs. Once these amenities arrived, they dramatically changed work and life on the farm.

        This segment from Iowa Public Television's documentary "The People in the Pictures: Stories from the Wettach Farm Photos" features original photography, filmed recreations, and first-person accounts of farm life in rural America during the Great Depression and early twentieth century.

        Contributor: Iowa Public Television
        Funder: Iowa Communications Network

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