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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Gingerbread House: 1936

Gingerbread House: 1936

January 1936. "Victorian cottage. Waveland, Mississippi." Large-format nitrate negative by Walker Evans for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

An Homage to Shorpy.com

This is my attempt at imitating the Shorpy.com look with one of my recent photos. I think Shorpy.com is the most interesting site out there and I promote whenever I can.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7185088@N07/5071840779/

And the Living is Easy

Summer is still oppressive in New Orleans but before air conditioning the families of the rich would vacate in the summer. This part of the Mississippi coast and then across Bay St. Louis into Pass Christian and beyond held many exquisite summer homes of wealthy New Orleaneans and many lesser, yet still significant, examples of period architecture. These beauties survived many many decades of hurricanes, even Betsy, but fell to Katrina.

In the mid 1980s I lived in Pass Christian a summer in college working to restore a beach front 1880s merchants home for the historical register but Katrina has since demolished it.

A case for Ghostbusters

The image formed in the upper right window could be Miss Fairchild in her white morning dress.

Fairchild House

Elsewhere on the interwebs, this house is identified as the family summer residence of Christine Fairchild, an architect and apparent paramour of Evans. Walker Evans stayed here for several nights of awkward sexual tension alluded to in his biography. I haven't been able to determine if the building is still standing.

Diamond-Lap Shingles

Those aren't just standard shingles turned at an angle, they're made to be installed this way. Sometimes called hurricane shingles.

Monkeys

Is Mississippi the monkeys' natural habitat, or are these pets?

Gulf Coast Kid

During the 1950s when I was a kid living on the Mississippi Gulf coast there were many old houses along the beach. They were great for ghost stories. Hurricane Camille is the one that did them in when it came ashore in the Gulfport area.

Is that two monkeys or one monkey and a coconut?

Like Blanche DuBois

This must have been a beauty in its day, falling here into eccentricity and decay. Pet monkeys on the porch, a roof in disrepair, string replacing a curtain rod in the doorway, and little gaps where she lost her skirts or parts of her foundation.And still, though aging disgracefully, something to make a person stop and stare.

This Old House

An amazing gallery of interesting intricacies to ponder for this carpenter. But the structural deficiencies are wincingly on display. Not just the sagging porch from inadequate footings, but one can see that someone went to some trouble to shore up the right side of the upper overhang at some point. They did a good job of laying the roof shingles by turning the corners and nailing them down with what appears to be nails with large flanges on them. I assume that was the custom in that region, given the hurricane winds mentioned below.

Gone With the Wind... and the Waves

Having seen Waveland in person several times over the past few years, I can assure you that there is no chance that this house would have survived Hurricane Katrina if it had still been standing. Poor Waveland was virtually wiped off the map in the most heartbreaking way. As you can see here, the poor people of Waveland will be living with the effects of that terrible storm for many years to come.

Monkeys on the porch

What an amazing picture - right out of a Tennessee Williams play. And the two monkeys on the porch add a special otherworldly touch.

I guess it would be impossible that this great old house survives today - not just because of the antipathy against Victorian buildings that continued into the 1960s, not just because of the problems of a wood building in a very humid climate, but because of hurricanes, including Katrina, which bombarded the gulf coastline. I hope someone can enlighten us as to the owners of this place.

Still there?

Knowing how many hurricanes have hit that area, I'd be very surprised if that house still exists.

Monkey See

It appears that two monkeys are sitting om the porch. I can only imagine what is living under the house considering the broken skirts.

 
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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.

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