Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Chicago’s Welfare Project, 1943

Chicago’s Welfare Project, 1943

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 05, 2014

16 March 1943, 6/1

Mormons Rent 20-Acre Tract to Grow Food

Mormons of Chicago, expecting a food shortage next winter, today announced plans for gardens and orchards that will produce vegetables, fruits and berries for canning 20,000 quarts of food during the late summer and fall. A cannery will be established to process them.

Bishop A.L. Williams, head of the Logan Square ward of the Chicago stake — or district – announced that 20 acres of excellent truck farming land on Grand av. not far from Mannheim rd., had been rented and would be divided into small plots for intensive cultivation by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints here.

Tractor to Be Used.

A tractor and other equipment have been obtained to prepare the ground before it is cut up into family gardens. This, according to the bishop, will enable the church gardeners to cultivate twice as much land as by hand. A 100-tree orchard has been also rented, providing several different kinds of fruits, and the church is negotiating for others.

“We have arranged to set up a cannery in a building within easy reach of the farm,” said Bishop Williams, “and we will have a retort capable of processing 1,000 quarts a day. We expect to put away at least 20,000 quarts of fruits and vegetables, probably much more.”

Cannery to Aid Others.

The bishop added that the facilities of the cannery would not be limited to members of the church, but would be available to friends and neighbors who do not have pressure cookers in their homes.

It was just 101 years ago tomorrow that the forerunner of this welfare program was set up. In Joseph Smith’s little store in historic Nauvoo, Ill., 18 women met with the Mormon leader and organized the “Female Relief Society of Nauvoo” to aid the poor and sick. It is now the National Women’s Relief Society, with 20,000 members.



  1. That site was just two miles south of the Douglas Aircraft Company’s manufacturing plant (and test field) at Orchard Place–which opened that same year. When Douglas consolidated its aircraft manufacturing business in Southern California at the end of World War II, it ceded the land to the city of Chicago, which decided to use the land for a new airport. A few years later, that Orchard Place Airport was renamed for a World War II hero, Lt. Cmdr. Edward O’Hare, and the city has since purchased additional land to permit the airport to expand into the wonderful place that it is today. (Yes, that last bit is mostly sarcasm.)

    As you may have noticed, the airport code is still ORD. You may now stop wondering how they got ORD from O’Hare.

    About that article–you’d think that the writer could have avoided the “Mormons expect famine next winter” angle, and instead pointed out that they were doing their part to produce their own food, which would leave commercially-grown crops available for the war effort.

    Comment by Mark B. — March 5, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

  2. I’m looking for photos of people and activities associated with the LDS Logan Square Ward and the LDS North Shore Ward from 1944 through 1956.

    Comment by Craig Paxman — February 27, 2015 @ 11:04 am

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