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Choice Rooms: 1936

Choice Rooms: 1936

March 1936. "Low-cost housing. Saint Louis, Mo." Cigars and Coke not included. Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


Coal chutes and street lights

The "rectangles" in front of each doorway is a step, either stone or concrete. The outlines you see on the sidewalk are most likely some kind of basement access, typically a coal chute as coal was delivered to each house well into mid-century. Do a Google Image Search on "majestic coal chute company" to see some lids.

The "old time" street light is a modern reproduction as you will see that they alternate down the street with the modern cobra head lights. St. Louis likes to use these period pieces for some aesthetic reason.

Also, you can see the five story warehouse remains on the other side of the street (just barely visible in the original).

Same Streetlamp

To the right of the street view is a streetlamp just like the one in the original photo. The hydrant and lamp post seem to be in opposite positions, so they might or might not be the 1936 editions. I worked a summer job near here, 35 years ago.

Can anyone explain?

In the close up view of this photo, you can see a rectangular outline on the sidewalk in front of each basement window, ending in a slightly raised square. The doorway to each building has a longer rectangle extending out into the sidewalk. Near the front are two ashcans, or small dumpsters, on top of these rectangles, with the end resting on the raised paver square.

Is anyone familiar with this? Were the ashcans moved from window to window so that debris or ashes could be shoveled out? Did each window normally have its own ashcan, and they just happened to be gone the day this photo was taken?

[Those are bakery delivery boxes for the market, not ashcans. - Dave]

In My Dreams

There I am in my choice $10 (Monthly?), 3 Room Apartment, smoking a fine Hauptmann's cigar, with a coke in my other hand while waiting for the Depression to end.

The rent's gone up

Fire hydrants: do they ever go away?

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