The Shorpy Archive
 
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
About the Photos

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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Dream Kitchen: 1936

Dream Kitchen: 1936

February 1936. "Kitchen in Westmoreland Homesteads. Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania." Westmoreland Homesteads, built by the federal government as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act during the Great Depression, was a model community that housed the families of laid-off coal miners. 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

 

Maybe the Mirror's for Dad

The first thing I thought of when I saw the mirror was "shaving". Growing up I knew older men who shaved in the kitchen. The mirror is right by the sink and it made sense to me.

Mirror theories

In my opinion, the mirror was for a quick hair-check before leaving home for any reason. Everyone I knew used their back kitchen door to enter and exit and people were conscientious about being presentable. Most also had a tin comb holder hanging nearby, usually painted light green or ivory, containing a few combs. One would wet the comb with tap water and comb their hair before leaving home. I know it is not considered acceptably sanitary these days, but believe me, it was very common as most homes were lucky to have even one indoor bathroom. Even face washing was acceptable in the kitchen in those days.

The mirror

I think the mirror is there so the housewife can watch the kids while she does the dishes. Note how it's tilted down towards the floor.

Re: Rear view mirror

Perhaps it's for when the sink backs up.

Norvelt Historic Marker

It seems that the "Westmoreland Homesteads" is still quite alive and well, living under a different name:

According to the roadside historic marker:
"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."

The community has a sizable website, including photos, at:
http://www.norvelt.org/Norvelt/Home.html

Government designed

I would like to be able to hear the comments of the housewives in this model community when they found themselves on their hands and knees under the kitchen sink trying to get to the back of the cupboard to the left. Also the design committee managed to block the left most drawer with the sink as well. Oh well, one less drawer pull needed.

Rear view mirror

maybe so the Hubby can't sneak up on her and scare her?

Checkerboard Floor

My dream kitchen will have this floor.

Kitchen table

Interesting how in those older kitchens, counter space was not considered a necessity. The kitchen table was usually the main work area.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.