The General State Authority, a separate independent public corporation and governmental body, was created in 1935 to enable the Commonwealth to circumvent constitutional restrictions on its borrowing capacity. Since the state could not legally take advantage of federal grant and loan offers from the Public Works Administration, the authority was given the responsibility of negotiating for the funds needed to expand and modernize state government facilities. The objective of the authority was to build new units and remodel old ones, and then lease them to the state government until the end of their amortization period, at which time they would be turned over to the Commonwealth. The General State Authority was abolished in 1945, but the need for additional state facilities led to the creation of another General State Authority in 1949 for the purpose of "constructing, improving, equipping, furnishing, maintaining, acquiring, and operating" a wide range of public works. The Department of General Services was created in 1975 to take over the responsibilities of both the General State Authority and the Department of Property and Supplies. However, the authority continues to function as an independent public corporation until the outstanding debt from the bond proceeds spent on earlier projects is retired.

Construction Photographs and Blueprints, 1932-1939. (10 boxes, 4 folders) Arranged numerically by docket number. This series contains 8"x10" photographic prints depicting the construction, expansion, or modernization of various Commonwealth properties. The prints are labeled with the job and docket number and the subjects are almost all exterior views of construction in progress at Pennsylvania National Guard armories, hospitals, teachers colleges, prisons and other state buildings. No original negatives are present. Institutions affiliated with African Americans are:

• Teachers Colleges: Cheyney State University (first established as a school for African Americans).

• Prisons/ Industrial Homes and Schools: State Orphanages for Soldiers’ Children (a number of them accommodated children of African American soldiers) and several state hospitals and penitentiaries.

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