Ola, Idaho is an example of a town working together for the common good of its citizens

These photographs taken by Russell Lee in July 1942 document the efforts of the energetic residents of Ola, Idaho and show the backbone of America.

Russell Lee reported  “Some of the members are in the armed services and others are working in war factories and others are helping neighbors who are haying. One member of the cooperative said, “Used to, we never had any work to keep us busy, now that we have the sawmill and are working on our houses and on the roads to the woods, we don’t have time enough for all we want to do.” He did not refer to outside work but meant that the cooperative association had given its members increased opportunity to improve their homes, small farms and garden.”

Five of the twenty- three members of the Self-help cooperative Five Idaho farmers, members of Ola self-help sawmill co-op,Old automobile converted to power unit for running machinery on the farm of a member of the Ola self-help cooperativeOld automobile converted to power unit for running machinery on the farm of a member of the Ola self-help cooperative

 Ola self-help cooperative. Daughter of a memberOla self-help cooperative. Daughter of a member Ola self-help cooperative. The treasurer works on the books in the officeOla self-help cooperative. The treasurer works on the books in the officeOla self-help cooperative. Wife of a member and his sonOla self-help cooperative. Wife of a member and his son

Ola self-help cooperative. A member and his family starts to townOla self-help cooperative. A member and his family starts to townMembers visit a fellow member. This house had one room in 1939, it now has two roomsMembers visit a fellow member. This house had one room in 1939, it now has two roomsWife of a member of the Ola self-help cooperative milking a cow. All members of the cooperative have cows, chickens, and gardensWife of a member of the Ola self-help cooperative milking a cow. All members of the cooperative have cows, chickens, and gardens

A member of the Ola self-help cooperative in the bathroom, a recent improvement in his home of which he is proud

A member of the Ola self-help cooperative in the bathroom, a recent improvement in his home of which he is proudThe wife of a member of the Ola self-help cooperative washing berries. Running water in the house is a very recent improvement for this familyThe wife of a member of the Ola self-help cooperative washing berries. Running water in the house is a very recent improvement for this familySon of a member. The members are slowly but continually improving their houses. Son of a member. The members are slowly but continually improving their houses

The office was built by the members with lumber sawed at their own millThe office was built by the members with lumber sawed at their own mill

Wives of some of the members with a daughter of oneWives of some of the members with a daughter of one Wife and child of a member in the kitchen of their homeWife and child of a member in the kitchen of their home

 A sign on the road points to a sawmill and farms of members of the Ola self-help cooperativeA sign on the road points to a sawmill and farms of members of the Ola self-help cooperative Wife of a member talks with her visiting neighbor who is also a member of the cooperative. The mother and child standing in the doorway are the same as in photograph taken in 1939 by Dorothea Lange. Since 1939 this family has added a room to their houseWife of a member talks with her visiting neighbor who is also a member of the cooperative. The mother and child standing in the doorway are the same as in photographHome of a member. Practically all houses have been enlarged and improved in the last two years. Lumber from the cooperative mill is used for such constructionHome of a member. Practically all houses have been enlarged and improved in the last two years. Lumber from the cooperative mill is used for such construction School attended by children of members of Ola self-help sawmill co-op. Gem County, Idaho.School attended by children of members of Ola self-help sawmill co-op. Gem County, Idaho.Jacknife School, Gem County, Idaho. Eleven pupils, two of them children of families belonging to Ola self-help sawmill co-opJacknife School, Gem County, Idaho. Eleven pupils, two of them children of families belonging to Ola self-help sawmill co-opWife and baby of president of Ola self-help sawmill co-op in doorway of their home. Wife and baby of president of Ola self-help sawmill co-op in doorway of their home.

Click here to see more vintage photographs and film of Ola, Idaho.

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Alabama

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