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House of Fleas: 1940

House of Fleas: 1940

June 1940. "One-spot town along U.S. Highway No. 1, between Washington and Baltimore." Jessup, Maryland, was the corporate headquarters of flea-powder manufacturer One-Spot. Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.


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A different kind of flea house, today.

A Super 8 hotel stands there now. There is an old house from the era that still stands, identifiable from an old image of "On Spot Town".

The sign is gone

And the site has been developed into (I believe) a condominium. Parenthetically, a liquor store across the road (now Route 1 Liquors) was for many years called One Spot Liquors.

My dog has fleas.

The Cut, too

Jessup was also the home of the maximum-security Maryland House of Correction (nicknamed "The Cut") at the time of this photo.

Never thought I'd see this again

In 1950, prior to my father's posting to Korea, we were stationed at Fort Meade and lived, successively, in Laurel, Baltimore, and on the post itself. Driving with my parents from Laurel or Meade to Baltimore for an occasional dinner or the theater, passing this sign was a high point for me.

Another was nearby in the form of the Lord Calvert whiskey distillery, where the aroma of cooking mash provided a pervasive olfactory treat, at least to a seven-year-old's nostrils.

I'll never forget ordering a Calvert and soda in New York some 11 years later and discovering that it didn't taste at all like it had smelled during that six-month sojourn in Maryland.

I have never tasted the flea powder.

Uninviting Name

Right down the road from the Roach Motel, no doubt.

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