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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Winter Sports: 1940

Winter Sports: 1940

November 1940. "Children sledding, Jewett City, Connecticut." First stop: the frozen flagpole. 35mm nitrate negative by Jack Delano. View full size.

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Winter Sports: 1940

I talked to a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burda, the occupants of the house at that time. She had never seen the photo. She told me that the white building to the left was a garage to a house that was on Tracy Avenue. The long building in the back of the house was the town movie theater. It was refurbished and reopened in 2005, but has since closed. The house is a duplex (33 and 35 Mathewson St). The house was in the Burda family until 2007.

I think the kid on the left

is George Bailey, the one on the right is probably his brother Harry.


The downspout may have lead to a cistern, which would provide non-potable water for washing, etc. Growing up in an older rental, we had a well for drinking water, and a cistern for everything else. The downspouts weren't very reliable, so we would have a truckload of water dumped into the cistern every month.

Winter Sports: 1940

According to the 1940 census, the family living at this house, 33 Mathewson St, was Andrew and Mary Burda, born in Poland, and five of their children, born in the US, ranging in age from 32 to 14. Andrew and the four oldest children worked in a cotton mill.

This Is Us!

Anyone who was a sentient being in America between 1935 and 1955 would recognize the children, the outfits, the houses, this street. This was small-town USA for many years, in a time when to have even one toy that required a battery placed the owner in the technological stratosphere. These kids' feet and fingers are numb, their ears and noses ache with the cold ... and they could care less!

Still there!

The house (actually a duplex) is still there and the neighbor's garage behind it too!

Storm Windows

The room above the parlor may have them but it's obvious the side windows don't. We had a cellar-full of broken wooden sash storms in every old home we rented.

The downspout entering the cellar, presumably to enter the sanitary system, is something I've never seen before.

Blast from the past!

Jewett City, CT? This is the small town next to the small town I grew up in! How fascinating. Never expected Shorpy to post something so close to my (obscure) hometown. Thanks! Love this site!

Get off my lawn

That's what's wrong with kids these days. No plaid.


My sled when I was a kid in the late 40s through the 50s was very similar to the one on the far left. I don't think it was new when I got it, so it was probably of the same vintage as these.

The longer sled on the far right looks like it might be a Flexible-Flyer. I always wanted one of those, but it never materialized. I got one for my son in the 70s though.


Looking at the iced-over sash windows I wonder what the temperatures inside must have been. Or the fuel consumption.

I don't suppose that those windows had more than one layer of glazing, either.


Ah, storm sash windows, I see. Had to google it. Somewhat like the winter add-ons that used to be all the rage with central / northern European casement windows before the invention of integrated double glazing. These winter casements are simpler to open for ventilation, though.

At first glance

The house and the scene looks like it could be straight out of the movie "A Christmas Story." The only things missing are the driveway and the 1937 Oldsmobile (and the Leg Lamp!).

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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