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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Splashdown: 1960

Splashdown: 1960

Somewhere in suburbia circa 1960. Probably South Florida. Anscochrome transparency by Frank Scherschel, Life magazine photo archive. View full size.

Pool Screens

I had no idea that lanais go that far back, with screened in pools. I had one built and of course, the the roof is not flat, but pitched like a normal roof. It's still a nightmare because the screen gets really dirty from the trees, which of course, ends up in the pool when it rains. If I ever move, no more pools.

Florida Room

By Donald Fagen
From the album "Kamakiriad" 1993

Start on Key Plantain
Walk a tropical mile.
You'll see a house
In the Spanish style.
There's a room in back
With a view of the sea
Where she sits and dreams.
Does she dream of me?

When summer's gone
I get ready
To make that Carribee run.
I've got to have
Some time in the sun.

Chorus:
When the cold wind comes
I go where the dahlias bloom.
I keep drifting back
To your Florida room.

"Lanai"

First, yes to those who correctly labeled the umbrella trees -- or shefflera, as they are one in the same.

My family moved to Boca Raton in 1961 -- no one I knew, parents or children, ever used the word "lanai." Matter of fact, until the heavy usage of it in the script of Golden Girls I never heard it used in the context of Florida.

Digressing....goes to show you the influences of television! Now, if they would only use the proper pronunciation of Boca Raton when they crack those awful jokes! (Raton has a long o, coming from the original "Boca de Ratones." Also, the modern Boca Raton is not in the same location as the maps of old indicate.)

To Zap, those aren't mountains in the background. Suggest you use the zoom feature on your tool bar. That's simply differing tree heights -- likely a mix of taller Australian pines with others.

To Dave, my dad rigged one of those nail on a stick devices, too. But, I didn't get paid. You lucky ducks!

While everyone else is concentrating on the foliage and architecture you are overlooking what truly pegs this photo into its proper time slot and place.

1) The lack of overbuilding in the background and above ground power lines.
2) The plaid pattern on the raft and the boy's "trunks."

Also, unless the eyes are fooling me, the girl's one piece suit is also plaid. I'd say we are certainly talking Florida, no later than 1966. By '67 she'd be in some kind of a two-piece with flowers, and the raft would be a lot groovier.

That "Flowda room" woman sure wasn't from South Florida -- not much in the way of accents there in over 40 years.

On the Lanai

This looks very close to a house owned by some friends of my parents in Sarasota. It's not theirs, but it's sure darn close because just seeing this triggered a memory of swimming in their lanai pool in 1972.

What kind of room?

When I moved to Virginia from California and was house-hunting, I kept being advised by my very Southern realtor that it had a "flowda room." Had to ask a friend what in heck that was. I have since gotten used to the suuuthen accent but I probably wouldn't have known what it was anyway.

One of Many

I just moved out of Florida (finally) a few years ago. There are bajillions of homes down there with that layout. they were built right up to the early 90's when the fad of McMansions started.

I know the layout like the back of my hand.

If you face the screen door and turn 90 degrees you will be looking at sliding glass doors leading into the master bedroom. Just to the left of those will be a door leading into the bathroom and probably an outside shower. Further to the left you will have another set of sliders, the kitchen window over the sink, a door leading into the 1 car garage and then another screen door.

The screen enclosure is called a "Lanai" in Florida and this type with the flat roof and aluminum screening is a maintenance nightmare. All lanais are now built with pitched roofs that are much stronger.

I can smell the chlorine

My grandparents lived in Hollywood, Florida and had a screened porch like this one. The next door neighbor had a pool. Boy does it bring back memories.

Florida Room

When I was growing up in Western New York, people called screened-in or glassed-in porches "Florida rooms."

Nice Crop

Why did you crop out the Life watermark in the lower right corner? With this action is it okay for us Shorpy readers to profit off of your work as long as we remove your watermark?

[Because it's (a) super-distracting and (b) only about 80 percent there. And of course (c), showing it would deprive tut-tutting busybodies of a chance to tut. - Dave]

Definitely Florida

There are three things in this picture that suggest it is in Florida.

(1) The vegetation looks typical of Florida. Also note the hedge row to the right, pretty close to the pool with no fence behind. Could be hiding a canal.

(2) The screened in pool. Although sun rooms are found everywhere - it seems that every other house in the state of Florida has one while they are pretty rare anywhere else. Someone mentioned Galveston - I've been to Galveston many times (I grew up in Houston) and I've never seen a screened in pool in Galveston.

(3) At the left edge of the picture is the edge of a stucco / cinderblock structure that is typical of house construction in Miami in the 50s. Very hurricane resistant.

Umbrella Trees

I grew up in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, and our 1972 house had not only this exact aluminum-frame screen but the "umbrella tree" planted outside, by the screen door. Visitors said our screen looked like a bird cage, but they were a ubiquitous neighborhood feature.

[I grew up in Miami and we had them too. And we also called them umbrella trees, not scheffleras. Anyway they were huge -- the biggest was at least 25 feet tall -- and dropped dozens of leaves every day. Which are bright yellow when they fall off. My sister and I each got paid 50 cents a week to "pick up leaves." We used a pole with a nail in the end, like the trash collectors have. And then once a year they would bloom, with great big red spiky things that looked like something out of a science fiction movie. Which of course would fall off a make another mess for us to clean up. Those were the days. - Dave]

Florida Again

This looks just like my parents' backyard pool patio in SW Florida. Most houses in that area were built in the 60's

Looks familiar

I think I swam in the pool. I once lived in So. Fla. - a long, long time ago - and just about every other house had that set up.

They're Here in Texas

We have friends just ten minutes from here that have a screened-in pool (Dallas area). A black aluminum frame with black fiberglass screening. It's great in summer, as it keeps the mosquitoes out, and keeps leaves out of the pool. Only one I've ever seen, though.

Gulf Coast

This looks like the gulf coast area, maybe Galveston, Texas.

McMansions

This photo could have been duplicated any number of places 35 years later, except that the pool would've been bigger. During the fad for huge McMansions in Florida in the 1990s, this kind of screened pool was an essential feature.

Not California

Screened-in pools are not found to any extent in California. Bugs tend to mind their own business there and leave people pretty much alone.

South Florida

I grew up in S. Florida and while the architecture is evocative, we don't have mountains like they have in the background. I'm going to go with Southern CA.

[Those are trees, not mountains. - Dave]

 
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