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Work, Read, Wash: 1943

Work, Read, Wash: 1943

March 1943. Barstow, California. "Railroad worker in the washroom of the reading room in the Santa Fe yard." Medium-format negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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That mystery fixture

I encountered a row of these frightening floor length fixtures many years ago in a historic hotel, I believe in Wellsville W.Va, or thereabouts. Not just similar, but apparently identical.

Each unit includes 1 column, and there is an extra column tacked on at the free end. There is a separate cap at the top. Our ancestors sure had a taste for the grandiose in bathroom fixtures.

As for the sink, this "S Trap" drain configuration far below the sink is generally illegal now, as it can siphon the trap dry. The vent pipe connection must be only a foot or so below the sink, with the "J Trap" in between.

We ate a fine lunch in the grand dining room, but did not stay. I looked on Google Earth and didn't find the hotel, may not have survived. At the time, it was in the guidebook of historic hotels, along with such places as the wonderful Lafayette in Marietta OH.

I may have pix somewhere, but probably wouldn't want to post them.

Fluted Column

I'll say that the fancy tile on the right is the edge of a floor length men's urinary convenience. The concrete step probably holds the shallow basin at its base.

Mystery fixture

Can anyone identify the fluted ceramic column at far right, raised up off the floor? Pedestal sink, drinking fountain?


I have never been to the Barstow area but I have been to the Waynoka Santa Fe depot. It was several years ago that my sister, a friend, and I , mainly, went to eat at the Harvey House Restaurant there. At the time, I had no idea that Waynoka had played such a role in the history of transportation. The restored depot and the restaurant were very interesting and well worth the trip if you are in the area.

Santa Fe Depot and Reading Room

Oh, the Santa Fe reading room. not the Reading Railroad reading room.

The Santa Fe Reading Rooms were hotelish facilities for engineers and employees on break between runs.

The Waynoka, Oklahoma, Depot and Reading Room:


These had to be high on my list of disgusting things seen in my childhood. Never envied the people who had to clean them or around them.

As an occasional home plumber

I have to admire the sheer, brutal functionality of the plumbing; not only is it designed not to clog, but if it does clog it's designed to be unclogged easily. And you can get at the feed lines and cutoff valves, too.

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