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The Wrong Side: 1938

The Wrong Side: 1938

November 1938. "Houses along the railroad tracks. Omaha, Nebraska." Photo by John Vachon for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

It’s Omaha!

I was looking myself, but thanks to another Shorpy user, we can confirm it’s Omaha!

For those wondering, Yes - this is Omaha in the picture.

I found out for sure now that this picture is 100% taken in Omaha. In the attachment of this comment is a picture of this same area but from a different angle. The Harriman Dispatching Center can be seen on the top left of the picture. When you zoom in, you can see the distinct brick patterns that are above the windows. A zoomed-in shot of the brick pattern can be seen in the second attachment, and can be compared with the pattern of the top left building in the first attachment. This means that this picture from 1938 is located where the Conagra Brands buildings are today.

Paint and tarpaper

When looking at Depression era (or even some later) pictures of buildings, I am always struck by the fact that tarpaper is substituting for shingles, and the walls clearly haven't been touched by paint for a long, long time. Even abandoned homes in places like Detroit don't seem to show that level of neglect today.

Agreed that those turkeys are living on borrowed time, or their owners are quite vigilant!

Omaha, Sure?

@rcadog: The 1940 Omaha White Pages lists Gross Mfg & Box Co at 610 Leavenworth (ATlantic-9414, if you had a nickel).

On today's Google Maps, 610 Leavenworth is between 6th and 7th Streets, about a quarter mile west of the river, and just north of the present-day Amtrak station, which abuts a former rail yard. It is also just west of railroad tracks that run north-south along the west bank of the river.

Perhaps the elevated structure in the Shorpy image that ends to the right of the Gross building was a track (or road) leading to/from a bridge over the river.

A period map of Omaha might provide the answer.

Omaha? Are you sure?

Couple of my Omaha friends and I have been trying to site this shot, but are striking out. First, we have not found Gross Manufacturing in any of the City Directories for the 30's - either before or after 1938.

Next, we see a UP and a C&NW box car in the upper left, but the locomotives in the upper right look like CB&Q engines. We are not objecting to the scene as depicting Omaha poverty in the '30's, but are trying to place the buildings and location. No doubt Vachon was photographing in the area of the UP and CB&Q yards in and near the Missouri River (witness the coal-fired power plant earlier) but this shot is tough to place!

Some of that turkey's descendants roam my neighborhood even today!!!

Gross Manufacturing Co.

Merged with Disgusting Products in 1952.

Cold Comfort

I sure hope that small square structure in the left foreground with the lattice work isn't the "necessary". It's going to be awfully cold in Omaha during the winter while using that thing.

Bad press

Omaha has not been getting a lot of good PR on Shorpy these last few days. Very slovenly.

John Vachon, storyteller

Wow! This scene just about has it all -- forlorn woman, old cars, derelict buildings, turkey, scrap pile, outhouse. Got to be a country song in here somewhere.

Lucky Turkey

I'm amazed the gobbler managed to get that big in this neighborhood. He's definitely living on borrowed time.

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