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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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Midway Furniture: 1936

Midway Furniture: 1936

December 1936. "Secondhand store in Council Bluffs, Iowa." 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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Wringer washer machines

They still had one like on the right at a laundromat in Mesquite, Texas that my mom used to go to in the middle to late 60's. I remember it so very well because I got my hand stuck between the rollers, about 30 seconds after she told me to, "Stop playing with that!". I was just tall enough to reach the rollers to get my right hand stuck there up past my knuckles. It scared the bejeezus out of me especially when I could not pull my hand out and panicked. A quick yank on the handle by my Mom freed me though.


I found it interesting to compare the difference between the two wringer washer machines - primarily Wood vs Metal - and wonder how many years apart they were manufactured - about 10 ? ?

Answer to "What is it"

That item on top of the tbale is a kerosene, two-burner stove. The kerosene is contained in a glass jar to the right and feeds the fuel into the bottom of each burner. The knob at the bottom of each burner controls the size of the flame.

What is

the item on the rickety table to the right of the tree?

Concerning phone numbers. In Montgomery, where I grew up, we had a five digit phone number 3-4869, then we went to a two letter prefix (AMhurst 3-4869). All private lines.

Mom said we once had a party line. She told me the story of Dad getting a chicken bone stuck in his throat and it being an emergency you could request the party line to be freed up. But the party on the line wouldn't get off. They finally did and Mom was able to call the Doctor who made a house call to remove the stuck bone. Try getting a doctor to make a house call today. :)

Phone number is what?

At my first job in the 1950s, the newspaper where I worked had two published phone numbers, 3 and 4. I never knew who had had the numbers 1 and 2.

Parlor Stove

Oh my! I would love to have one of those! Just imagine it cleaned up with nickel plating?!


including the kitchen sink!

Where's the Street Sweeper When We Need Him?

That city street is nicely-paved with paving stones and is something any municipality would be justifiably proud of (especially in the 1930's), but there's certainly a lot of, er, "dark matter" lodged up against the curb . . . (And we're not talking advanced physics here!)

Great shot of two Depression-era entrepreneurs trying to power through some pretty tough economic times.


I'm old enough to remember 6-digit phone numbers, but not five. Phone 4903J.

[The letter suffix indicates a party line. Several customers shared the same line and phone number digits, differentiated only by the "ring code" letter, which determines the ring pattern for a specific customer's phone. - tterrace]

Mandatory Options

"So, you want the tank with the toilet? Well friend, that's gonna cost you plenty!"

The force is strong here.

These are not the droids you are looking for.

It was not serendipitous

Jake was less than happy with the surprise in the commode when he was moving items inside at the end of day. It appears that most of Council Bluffs has passed through Midway - including the kitchen sink against the tree.

Stove Trove

That elegant heating stove caught my eye. I can barely make out the word "Royal" on it, which possibly makes it from Fuller, Warren & Co., out of Troy, NY.

SHORPY OLD 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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