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War Kitchen: 1941

War Kitchen: 1941

July 1941. "War housing. Mrs. B.J. Rogan and her small son, Bernie, in the kitchen of the Rogans' new war home at the Franklin Terrace housing project in Erie, Pennsylvania. Mr. Rogan is a drill press operator at a nearby plant which is working three shifts on war contracts. The Rogans pay about twenty percent of their income for rent." Medium format acetate negative by Alfred Palmer for the U.S. Office for Emergency Management. View full size.


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... is laundry day. And this kitchen appears to have a combination kitchen sink and deep laundry tub. If Mrs. Rogan was lucky she would have an electric wringer washer, otherwise it would be the old washboard. It would lean against the angled portion of the laundry tub. My 1928 house still has its original double concrete laundry tubs.

There were also refrigerators that operated on kerosene.

Let there be (free) light.

"Light bulb in the trash can" reminded me that here in Detroit (and I assume other cities) the Edison Co. would exchange light bulbs (burned out for new) at no charge. That went on for years until some local store owner sued Edison for restraint of trade because he wanted to sell more lightbulbs. And won! What a yutz.

Found 'em

Bernard J. Rogan, Sr., wife Lenore, and son Bernard Jr. are in the 1940 census, living in Washington DC, where Bernard Sr. is an insurance agent. All 3 were born in Pennsylvania.

In 1948 they are living at 2130b Gladstone Ct., Erie PA. Occupation was listed as "Tool Rpr".

In 1950, they are back in Washington DC, where Senior is manager of a service station. Lenore works for the Federal Power Commission.

Senior died in about 1983. Lenore died in 1992. Junior died in 2016.

1941, huh?

Since The U.S. didn't enter the war until December, why was this family living in "war housing?"

[Yes, huh. Some googling might provide enlightenment. Keywords: Lend-Lease, Battle of Britain. - Dave]

Loco ...

... motive on the table.


I suggest Baxado ought to retry the percolator for making coffee. I still have my parents' percolator which is used extensively on camping trips. Makes a great cup of coffee, but be careful of the grounds!


The seat of knowledge

Movin' on up

It's new, nice, clean, and not an attic nor a small travel trailer still on wheels.

I couldn't find the Rogan family in the 1940 Census, but did find this description of their living arrangement progress: "Defense housing, Erie, Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Rogan and their small son, Bernie, at home in the living room of their new defense home in Erie, Pennsylvania. Mr. Rogan is a drill press operator at the nearby General Electric Company plant. He earns $42.50 a week, and pays about twenty percent of his income for rent. Before moving into a newly constructed defense home at the Franklin Terrace housing project, he lived in a remodeled attic, and then a trailer. For the latter he paid 6 dollars a week, including all utilities."

I'm pretty sure the B. stands for Bernard. The Franklin Terrace housing project is now the John E. Horan Garden Apartments. Horan was/is the director of the Erie Housing Authority. These units are now public housing.

Looks peaceful to me

Everything spic and span and in its place while Mrs. Rogan whips up something tasty for her family, but I'm sure it reflects accurately on the home front during wartime. Those Servel gas refrigerators always seemed to produce a faint odor, but they did work using a science I never understood of how to make cool with a gas flame. Between 1955 and 1960 with I was in Boy Scouts, we'd spend Memorial Day weekend at a deer lease in the Hill Country of Texas between Kerrville and Medina. The first thing our Scoutmaster did upon entering the asbestos sided cabin was light the Servel refrigerator and that odor lingered throughout the weekend, but we had a lot of fun.

[Fun fact: Servel is a contraction of "Serving Electricity." - Dave]

Snack Time

It's about 2 pm according to the clock on the wall. I am just wondering what he did to get a snack at 2 pm.

When I was his age, I didn't dare ask for a snack that soon after lunch. I usually waited until about 3 pm. Chances were 50/50. If if got to be 4 pm - it was too late - 'dinner is soon'.

There's a busted light bulb in the trash bin. I wonder what wattage it was.

Still there

The Franklin Terrace apartments are now called the John E. Horan Garden Apartments. The old kitchen was tiny but charming; now, not so much.

That Coffeepot

Was my worst enemy after visiting my father-in-law's house for the first time for an overnight stay and being asked by my wife to "make coffee." Of course I had no idea how to make coffee in that kind of pot.

We had only been married a year and I had been in the US for the same.

Needless to say, I greeted everyone to breakfast with the best coffee sludge a newbie could make.

Light bulb in the trash can

That used to be a familiar sight, as manufacturers held to highly inefficient--thus highly profitable--incandescent bulbs long after alternatives were possible. It took an act of Congress (Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007) to phase out incandescent bulbs that typically lasted 750-1000 hours, as opposed to today's LED bulbs which won't need replacing for 25,000 hours.

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