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Second City: 1941

Second City: 1941

April 1941. "Old brownstone houses now occupied by Negroes in Chicago, Illinois." Medium format acetate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


Romancing the Stone

Mr. Lee may have been using 'brownstone' as a synonym of townhouse, but these were most likely Chicago Greystones. Greystones were made from Bedford limestone mined in nearby deposits in Indiana.

Million-dollar homes

Can't tell where exactly in Chicago this pic was taken, but if on the north side, and they still stand, those brownstones could easily be over a million dollars these days.

My mom in law lives in a highrise at North and Clark, and the brownstones in the neighborhood are ungodly expensive.

[This was the Southside Chicago district known today as Bronzeville. - Dave]

Hat Tricks

No matter where you look, in any photograph up to around 1960 or so, every man wore a hat. They not only 'completed the look', but signified the economic station. Here we see one billed ball-cap, one beret, but only one gent with none at all.

Everyone else is wearing some version of a fedora.

I think it was Jack Kennedy who killed the hat, so to speak. He often refused to wear one and the rest of the fashion-conscious followed suit. End of an era.

1940 Pontiac

Silver Streak Sedan. Can't tell if it's a six or an eight cylinder. Still a pretty new car.

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