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Furnished Rooms: 1936

Furnished Rooms: 1936

March 1936. "Detail of boardinghouse. Birmingham, Alabama." 8x10 inch nitrate negative by Walker Evans for the U.S. Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Engrossed In Sewing

It appears the lady in the upper right window was unaware of the photographer. I am sure she couldn't even fathom a bunch of people 87 years later would be viewing her.

The camera angle is great

Walker Evans placed his camera level with the top step and cropped his photo at the bottom of the steps, giving you little sense of depth but a lot of sense of height. You're looking straight through the house at a rough wood fence or shed behind the house. Inside, you can see a small hanging light and an arch. I'm guessing the ground floor rooms had at least 14-foot ceilings. The gingerbread on the porch posts form points which look Moorish. It must have been quite a house.

I did a quick search for a current 2416 address in Birmingham where this house might have been. My best guess is there's an industrial building there now. Dave, there is a small sign above the front door. I can read an '8' but am uncertain about the rest of it. Can you read it?

9 rooms, sidewalk view

If this be it

then it had about a dozen years of defiance left: a 1947 aerial shows a building, a 1950 Fire map has a ghost image. (And for those unconvinced by mere wordage, those fire maps show a two-story wooden house with a facade-wide front porch.)

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