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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • WE CAN DO IT! BUT FIRST, COFFEE

Wendell & Oscar: 1939

Wendell & Oscar: 1939

November 1939. "Main street of Wendell, North Carolina. Negroes on way to work in tobacco stem factory." Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

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Madison-Clark Building

I think the the Oscar Griswold building *is* the building with two steps up from the sidewalk in Doug Floor Plan's image. The bricked-up window (with the white rectangle occupying most of it) in Doug's image is where there's someone leaning against it in the Shorpy image (under the striped awning, arm up next to head, elbow pointing at the camera).

The air conditioner in Doug's image is atop the 2 steps in the Shorpy image where the door was. Looks like the opening was widened, adding a window toward the right edge of the Shorpy image (where the flea funeral home is).

Also, it looks like the same two brick building corners across the alley from each other.

Facelift

I think that bland brick building *is* the Whitley & Son building, but with a new face. Look at the banding on the side of the building - five light courses and a dark course. It also looks like the same banding is in the Oscar Griswold building in the original picture, and you can see the same pattern in the white building, but it's tough to see under the paint.

Looking toward Main Street

I'm pretty sure this is the same stretch of sidewalk as in the 1939 photograph. You're at 15 E 3rd Street looking west toward the intersection with Main. The Philco Radio building is still on the corner -- compare the second story windows. The buildings immediately across Main Street and on this side of the Philco building are still there -- compare cornice and second story brickwork. But the Whitley & Son building has been replaced by the bland brick building with tiny windows. The Oscar Griswold building may or may not still be the building with two steps up from the sidewalk.

This was confusing because, if you cross Main Street the buildings on the immediate left have the same second story windows with brick eyebrows and the same brickwork parapet as the now gone Whitley & Son building. I kept trying to make that building the one in the photo.

What went on in the tobacco stem factory?

Not to be confused with the part of a pipe that you put in your mouth, a tobacco stem, aka midrib, is the thick part of the vascular structure of the plant.

Stems are mostly removed during processing, though some of them remain in filler of cigars. A main use for the rest is sale to pigeon fanciers for their birds' nests.

Final Score: 3 to 1 to 1

Coca-Cola over Pepsi and 7up in signage: We know we're in the South (and no: "nitrate of soda" isn't a beverage ... for people, anyway)

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