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The Sink at the Top of the Stairs: 1937

The Sink at the Top of the Stairs: 1937

January 1937. "Children of migrant citrus worker who lives in a rundown apartment house. The sink at the head of the stairs is the only running water in the house. Winter Haven, Florida." Photo by Arthur Rothstein. View full size.


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Attention to detail

I'm amazed at the attention to detail (or lack of) in this photo. The stairs are trimmed out nicely with a skirt board and quarter-round molding, while the walls barely get some paper over the unplastered lath boards. The contrast between the two is jarring.

Citrus work is hard work

Working in the groves was a right of passage in Winter Haven in the sixties. I fired groves during a freeze, and picked tangerines after another freeze. People that year got tangerine juice mixed in with their OJ from the Donald Duck plant in Lake Wales. I spent another summer when in college pruning trees. These kids probably did their share of picking. By the sixties, white migrant citrus workers usually lived in Eloise or Wahneta, just south of Winter Haven. The shacks there were only one story though. The smell of orange candy would fill the air when the orange juice plants were in full swing, the Minute Maid plant to the north and the Snively plant in Eloise.

Poor as dirt

...but still had a pet to cherish and love, some bonds need no explanation!

Worn out

Even the dog looks worn out.


Quite strange that the girls are fairly well dressed but the boy has tattered clothes and is barefoot. Must be a boy thing !.

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