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Norvelt is a census-designated place in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The community was part of the Calumet-Norvelt CDP for the 2000 census, but was split into the two separate communities of Calumet and Norvelt for the 2010 census. Calumet was a typical company town, locally referred to as a "patch" or "patch town", built by a single company to house coal miners as cheaply as possible. On the other hand, Norvelt was created during the depression by the federal government of the United States as a model community, intended to increase the standard of living of laid-off coal miners. Award winning writer Jack Gantos was born in the village and wrote a book about it
Dedicated on September 8, 2002 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
A Pennsylvania Historical Marker located at LR 6406 Mount Pleasant Road (State Route 982) on the Volunteer Fire Department V.F.D. property, Norvelt reads:
Originally called "Westmoreland Homesteads", Norvelt was established April 13, 1934, by the federal government as part of a New Deal homestead project. With 250 homes, Norvelt provided housing, work, and a community environment to unemployed workers and their families during the Great Depression. It was renamed "Norvelt" in 1937 in honor of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her interest in the project.
As part of the sweeping National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA), Congress allocated $25 million for the creation of "subsistence homesteads" for dislocated industrial workers. Over the course of the program's eleven-year history, the federal government seeded nearly 100 planned, cooperative communities. Norvelt, in southwestern Pennsylvania, was the fourth. The idea for the program was a throwback to the Jeffersonian ideal of a back-to-the-land movement, popularized by Americans who promoted small-scale subsistence farming as an antidote to economic exploitation and the alienation of modern life.