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Beware of Duck: 1939

Beware of Duck: 1939

March 1939. "House in Mexican section made of discarded airplane engine crates. San Antonio, Texas." Note feathered mascot. Medium-format nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Most likely near Kelly AFB

About mid-way between the left edge of the house and the left edge of the door one of the boards in the upper half has what looks like "A. C. S. D. March Field". I'm fairly certain that's "Air Corps Supply Depot" (March Field is near Riverside, Ca). If so, those were crates for military engines. Stinson Field was still civilian in 1939, and Lackland AFB had not yet been built. That leaves Randolph, Kelly and Brooks AFBs as sources for the crates. Obviously, the source of the crates isn't necessarily near the location of the house, but it seems likely that it would be. In that case, we're left with Kelly and Brooks, as the area around Randolph would not have been described as the "Mexican section". The areas around Kelly and Brooks could, and probably would, have been so described, and I think the area around Kelly is the more likely one.

Frost Line?

Dbell, this is San Antonio. The frost line is several hundred miles north! :-)

Living in SA now, I really wonder where the "Mexican section" was. Considering the construction material, maybe near Stinson Field?

Wright Whirlwind

The Wright Whirlwind was a family of air-cooled radial aircraft engines. They were produced by Wright Aeronautical, a direct descendent of the Wright brothers' original company. In 1939, they were producing 7- and 9-cylinder versions. The 9-cylinder version was also used for Sherman tanks in WWII.

They also produced a 14-cylinder engine used in military prototypes, but they weren't produced commercially. That's too bad, because the crates for a 14-cylinder engine could have given them an extra room.

Crate Construction

Not bad, considering the material worked with. Looks like a container of whitewash to the left, should be really something when done. Too bad vinyl siding hasn't been invented yet.

And On it Goes

Down-Wright comfy, except for the outdoor plumage.


Downton Abbey it's not.

Construction inspection

Woodstove chimney:

Metal bushing at wall penetration
Height, minimum 2 feet above anything within 10 foot radius
Rain cap
Spark arrester


Footing extends below frostline
Probably does!


I'm thinking maybe Dinner.

Fowl Craftsmanship

The home looks solid but I suspect there may be quacks in the foundation. Also the doorways appear too low, tall people may have to duck to enter. Sorry, Dave started it.

Beware of Duck, Indeed!

That's a muscovy. They've got claws, and they know how to use them.

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