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Raised on Radio: 1942

Raised on Radio: 1942

February 1942. "Burlington, Iowa. Sunnyside unit, Farm Security Administration trailer camp. In a trailer for workers at the Burlington ordnance plant." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Wall Sconce lamp

That looks like a wall sconce lamp. Its output would be aimed downward against the wall and would light the room via reflection. Probably would give a nice indirect glow. Like the chrome styling too.

What is it?

I would like to know what the device is above the window? (Yes, bad English, but I think you know what I mean.)

Shower and a shave!

Don't forget your Woodbury aftershave lotion.

Familiar Grounds

My husband's family is from Burlington and both his grandmother and great grandmother as well as aunts worked at the plant. There is a cemetery on the land owned by the Plant where the relatives of a close family friend is buried, unfortunately it is very difficult to get permission to visit.

Base Canard

I too was raised on radio and have always resented hearing younger folk say, "Back then listeners always stared at the radio." The youngster here is doing exactly as I remember - staring into space while enjoying the theater of the mind.

Alongside Highway 61 (again)

FSA-sponsored Sunnyside trailer park, officially opened Nov. 1, 1941, was at corner of Sunnyside and Roosevelt Avenues in the City of Burlington. FSA had set up trailer park camps for agricultural workers, but according to the local newspaper (the Burlington Hawk-Eye) this was the first time it had set up one for defense plant workers.

Roosevelt Avenue, at that spot, was better known as U.S. Highway 61 (later made famous by Bob Dylan, born May 24, 1941). This is only one of several John Vachon pics for the FSA taken near Highway 61, which generally runs in the west side of the Mississippi from Minnesota to New Orleans.

In February 1942, there would have been little of interest to a child this age on KBUR. For its first year, that local station was not affiliated with any network, and most of its programming was homegrown. But starting later that year (in July 1942), it joined NBC's Blue network, thereby allowing shows like The Lone Ranger and Red Ryder to come through loud and clear in Burlington.

Mommy, turn on the Lone Ranger!

17 years later, I was a big fan of the Lone Ranger on the family Zenith.

Lucky Tiger

Are you implying that the look on his face is a result of an unauthorized use of the shampoo? Note the alcohol content.

Judging by the dial position

it seems more likely she is tuning in KSO ("Keep Serving Others"), moved in March 1941 to 1460-kHz, then one of two Des Moines stations owned by the Des Moines News and Register and an NBC Blue affiliate. With 5-kw daytime, 1-kw nighttime, quite powerful for the era, the station could easily broadcast the 150 miles between the two cities, especially since the nearest station then on 1460-kHz was four hundred miles west running 1-kw.


I think this kid has just had some Lucky Tiger hair products applied.

I too want to be a Lucky Tiger!

If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me! And its still made today. By golly I am going to try it!

Lucky Tiger Shampoo

Several different style bottles, through the years, the bottle on the right, appears to be like this one.

Radio ID

That would be a Crosley "Fiver", a moderately priced radio with decent performance.

She's found her station

Judging from the dial position, she is listening to KBUR on 1490 kc. That Burlington station came on the air in 1941.

Farm Security + War Information

John Vachon continues his travels, mixing his original assignment (Farm Security Administration) with what it was morphing into (Office of War Information).

The Burlington facility, officially the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, began production in 1941. It ceased production in 1945, started again in 1949, and is still operating. In 1990 it also became a Superfund site due to contamination by explosives and lead.

As the photo below indicates, by 1944 women were leaving their trailers to manufacture ammo. Let's hope this lady and her son knew uncontaminated lives.

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