The Works Progress Administration (WPA) is seen in many of the artistic and functional structures of New Orleans’ City Park. The McFadden Girl Scout Cabin was donated to the park by William McFadden and constructed in the early 1920s, specifically for the Girl Scouts. Architect Richard Koch and landscape architect William S. Wiedorn designed the Arts and Crafts style cabin (Works Progress Administration in New Orleans City Park, neworleanscitypark.com). It was “improved by WPA 1935-1936.”
…a simple, one room structure that has great artistic integrity, including scissors roof trusses, stone work, window shutters, clay tile floors. Tucked under large live oak trees with hanging Spanish moss on the City Park lagoon, the girls are transported in time when the shutters and doors are pushed open. (Girl Scouts Louisiana East, gsle.org)
McFadden was born in West Virginia in 1869, and at age 19, began working in the Mackintosh Hemphill Steel Foundry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By age 40, he was president of the company. He resigned shortly after due to illness from his lungs having been affected by work in the steel mills and moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, preparing to die. He did not die, and went on to become a multimillionaire in the oil business of Oklahoma. In 1920, he married Helen Charlotte Williams Levi of New Orleans, where they lived and constructed the McFadden Mansion. The mansion and land was sold, becoming both City Park and the Christian Brothers school, and the McFaddens moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, where he lived until his death in 1956. McFadden apparently had a heart for Girl Scouts as he also funded a private camp for scouts.