If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I get all sentimental about outhouses — finding it so hard to comprehend… to imagine… how many folks in America didn’t have indoor plumbing until the 1950s or even into the 1960s. I like to pinch my whiny self to remind how lucky I have it. In that same spirit, this photo just blew me away: It’s from 1940 — a dugout house in Pie Town, New Mexico.
Here’s the family that lived in the dugout. These Pie Town photos were taken by Russell Lee, in October 1940, as part of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information project to document the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. Yes, there were color photos taken – but apparently not very many.
Here’s the kitchen in the dugout house of another family in Pie Town.
Down South: African American’s tenant’s home beside the Mississippi River levee, near Lake Providence, Louisiana, June 1940. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott.
Over on the East Cost, where settlements had been in place longer, I think a lot of housing looked like this. The caption indicates: tenement housing, Brockton, Mass., 1940. This photo by Jack Delano.
1940! Can you believe it? My mother was born in 1938. Her mother was born in 1911. My grandfather was born in 1900. Even with our hi-def big screens and 4G networks and solar panels and botox injections — we are still that connected to those times. I find this mind-boggling. All of these photos are now part of the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
The Denver Post catalogued these photos and more — which were featured in the 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color — on their website: The catalog is pretty darn amazing… riveting….
Oh, one more thing: The dugout house: Now THAT is a bona-fide “sustainable house.” Don’t kid yourself: We cannot consume ourself out of a consumption crisis. Well, my pea brain can’t comprehend how…