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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Step Children: 1942

Step Children: 1942

Children on rowhouse steps, Washington, D.C. 1942. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Louise Rosskam. Note service stars in windows and the curious narrow passage between houses. Possibly N Street SW.

 

Passageways

The rowhouses in SW Washington DC had alleys for the removal of trash and still do. These houses for the most part are still standing today in 2007. The passsages were just for access to the back garden from the front, nothing more.

Not odd & even.

Look again - the numbers are 469 and 471 .

address numbers

Street addresses, and how they are done are set by local law + the post office. Each house on my street skips 10 or so numbers. I suspect they were allowing for future streets and subdivisions.

My own lot is 910 feet deep by 150 wide and could hold 12 lots of 110x75 aiming side-wise on my lot plus room for the street on the side.

Some of these stub end street-subdivisions were done.

I hate those "lattitude, longitude" areas which specify locations by the relation to some central spot. Many Northwest townships in In, OH, and IL are done this way.

Addresses on Row Houses

I am curious as to why the addresses are both "odd" and "even" on the same side of the street. Today the odds are on one side and the evens on the other.

Excellent comment!

Thank you for that truly informative and interesting comment! Everyone be sure to read "passageways" below.

passageways

I was raised in a row house in Jamaca, Queens, Long Island in the early 40's, I'm 68 now. The houses were side by side as shown and back to back. If you were lucky each house had a little garden. If you were REALLY lucky, you had an alleyway running the length of the block between the gardens. Usually just wide enough for a one-horse cart or small truck to pick up garbage and coal ash (that's how most everybody heated, unless you were lucky enough to have gas). The garbage and coal ash always came out the basement door in the back of the house (note that there are none in the front of the houses -- we had our pride). So if you didn't have an alleyway, you had to get the garbage and coal ash to the front for pickup. And when they couldn't deliver coal directly to the basement by truck through a window, they had to bag it (100-pounders) and carry it back. I learned several new words from the carriers in several different languages. Got slapped with a wet dishrag (and that HURTS) every time I used one in the presence of my Mother.

The back door!

There were indeed back doors to these rowhouses. However, you couldn't get to the street from the back yard unless you went through the house so they would put in these passageways so that the back yards would have access to the streets without having to go through someones house. Most of the backyard gardens (as they used to call them) had a gate which opened onto a common path which led to the passageway. Not a lot of privacy in the back from your immediate neighbors.

CURIOUS PASSAGEWAY BETWEEN HOUSES

The back door hadn't been invented yet!

Curious Passageway between houses

That was the only access from the street side to the rear of the rowhouses because the rowhouse probably took up most of the block.

Free Service Stars

Here is an image of the form that ran in newspapers in 1942 for ordering free Service Stars. Blue stars indicate service within the boundaries of the United States. A silver star denotes service overseas and a gold star denotes a death while in service.

 
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