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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.


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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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