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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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On the Road: 1936

On the Road: 1936

July 1936. "Vernon Evans and family of Lemmon, South Dakota, near Missoula, Montana, Highway 10. Leaving the grasshopper-ridden and drought-stricken area for a new start in Oregon and Washington. Make about 200 miles a day in Model T Ford." Our second glimpse of these travelers, last seen here. Medium-format negative by Arthur Rothstein, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

This is my aunt and uncle

If finding Vernon was difficult because his name was Clarence then you would have had a hell of a time finding him if you heard us call him Pete! That is all I ever knew him by except by Aunt Flora who always called him Vern. I grew up a mile from them. These photos pop up every so often and they gained quite a lot of attention from them over the years. Even made it on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. Very kind couple who led a simple life with dash of "Grapes of Wrath"!!

Driver's door not needed

With Model T and Model A Fords, it was no big deal if the driver's door didn't open. The first Ts had a "dummy" door (looked like a door, but didn't open), and the driver just slid over (the front seat pair was very narrow, anyhow, only about 44"). In sedans, the front seats could be tilted forward to allow entry to the rear.

All five passengers could easily have entered and exited this car through the passenger-side door, leaving the driver's side running board free to carry luggage.

Note the absence of hood sides on this car, must have made maintenance quicker and easier, even if it left the hood to flap in the wind.

Driver's side door

Back in the day, it wasn't uncommon for people to use the passenger side door to enter/exit vehicles more often than not. If you were the driver you would enter on the passenger side, since it was the side adjacent to the curb, and then just slide over on the bench seat to get behind the wheel. It was considered "unsafe" enter/exit a vehicle from the street side where all the traffic was. That's why you'll see stuff blocking the driver's side door in old traveling photos.

I had a 1950 Ford F1 Pickup for years, and it only had a keyhole for unlocking the door on the passenger side, because that's the door you would enter/exit from.

Five adults and 200 miles a day

was a lot of hard driving in a Model T Ford. As durable as these cars were, I’m sure these folks made it to their destination. This particular car looks like a 1923-1925 model.

Clarence Vernon Evans

Took me a little while to find our Vernon because his first name is Clarence. His wife is Flora. By 1940 he was working for the railroad and they had a daughter Ester Violet. He died in North Dakota 20 April 1998. Flora must have returned to Lemmon South Dakota where she died 23 Sept 2008.

Utility Pole

Don't believe I've ever seen a square one made of wood.

Younger here

They look really young in this picture, much younger than in the previously-posted picture, even though the pictures were all taken in the same session. It would be interesting to read a day-to-day journal of what happened in that Model T between SD and OR.


It's hard to tell for sure, but it looks like the suitcase is resting on the running board, and tied with a wire to the door handle. Once it's affixed like that, how would the driver open the door to get out without interfering with the wire?

Re: Seinfeldesque

I thought Vernon's hair in the previous shot might have been caught with a gust of prairie wind, but this makes it seem more like a style choice!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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