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Paging Edward Hopper: 1940

Paging Edward Hopper: 1940

Children in the tenement district, Brockton, Massachusetts. December 1940. Photograph by Jack Delano. View full size. These duplexes must have been fairly grand when they were new, probably around the turn of the century. They look like the house where Granny and Tweety Bird lived. Are they still there?


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Is it totally genuine?

The power pole looks fake at the base, and its shadow is narrower than the pole itself. And take a look at the shadow of the child in black: different angle. The dog ... oh well ... no shadow at all. Maybe not totally fake, but surely retouched.

[The shadow of the pole would be the same width as its base if you could see where two the came together behind the where the dirt has built up along the pavement. The shadow on the ground next to the kid is cast by whatever he's holding; his own shadow is much smaller, like the dog's. - Dave]

Look at the details

I see details such as the fading wreaths in the windows, the rain downspouts that have a "Y" connectors from the second floor roof to the bay window roofs, then to the next level and then down to the ground; the corbels in the entry way. So many homes had them as trim items and so many are removed today. A lot of architectural character is missing in today's homes.

1932 Ford Standard Tudor

The car is a 1932 Ford Standard Tudor and the color is Washington Blue. I have one just like it.

Brockton, Mass.

Would anyone please post the address of the location this shot was taken? I am working on a photogray project where I am shooting with a similar vision as Edward Hopper paintings. These Mansard Roof homes would be perfect subject matter at sunrise/sunset.

Oh, please forward the address to my e-mail at

Thanks In Advance,
Charles Roland

They are there!

I grew up in Brockton and those places are still there!

Mansard Roof

The mansard roofs and style of these houses is called the French Second Empire style. In the last half of the 19th century, it was common to have roofs with dormers. It provided an extra residential floor, but tax assessments did not count the top floor in the market appraisals, so owners were, in effect, adding a floor to the building without being taxed for it. This was explained to me by a historian who recently gave a wonderful two-hour walking tour of houses and mills along the Quinebaug River in Putnam, Connecticut. You can see some interesting information about this at:

Mansard Roof

There are many examples of this style of house where I live, I grew up in one very similar that had 4 single family homes in it, each of which is now at least 5 apartments. The roof style is a Mansard roof if I'm not mistaken and is fairly common in the Northeastern US and Canada, it stands up well to a heavy snowload.


These houses are fantastic.
Are they duplexes or quads? That's an amazing amount of house for a duplex!

This, and "American Gothic".

I don't know if it's of any use, but if you look at the "American Gothic" image (another from this shoot), the number 22 is chalked onto the left door on the porch. Maybe somebody who knows Brockton (Dianne Cantara, where are you?) can track down this locale and tell us what's there now.

Looks real to me.

I'm loving those roofs. The shape is wonderful.
How pretty these homes must have looked when new.

Re: Sure it isn't a model?

I haven't poked around this site a lot, so maybe this info is here somewhere (yeah, yeah, I read the explanation of the Shorpy name) -- but maybe you should explain more background to a lot of these photos from the 30s and 40s.

Of course they're real.

These are by documented, well-known, and legendary photographers. Walker Evans. Lewis Hine. Dorothea Lange. Ben Shahn. Russell Lee. Look them up.

The photos are so detailed because they used large format cameras with honking big negatives.

Read the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Get a hardcover copy that really shows off Walker Evan's photos.

And keep looking back here for more leads on great documentary photography.

ever wonder?

Ever wonder what the people's thoughts were at the moment the photo was taken? A. Moore

Telephone pole?

Actually it is a power pole, there are no telephone lines on it. If you look real close you can see the telephone pole and lines in the back.

Tree limb??

That's a telephone pole. Click here. Another version is here.

Sure it isn't a model?

The people don't look real. The car looks like a toy, and the tree limb in front of it all is huge.

Are you sure that picture isn't a model?

Look at the people. They just don't look real. And neither does the car or the big tree limb in front of it all.

They are still there...

I can't promise you that these exact ones are still around, but there are many that look just like this in Brockton. Some have been restored, some are still run down.

I'll get it running some day

Ever since there have been cars somebody has put them on blocks and abandoned them.

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