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Trashscape: 1912

Trashscape: 1912

November 1912. "For Child Welfare Exhibit 1912-13. Whitman Street dump, Pawtucket, Rhode Island." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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Whitman Street Today

Whitman Street is about six blocks long, mostly residential with an elementary school.

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Recycled windows

My grandfather used old windows to make greenhouses, they always worked really well. The ultimate recycling.


I don't think those little buildings are for people to live in. With windows that extensive, they would have been very poor in either heat or cold. But I do find it odd that the colonial style windows are so nicely made in comparison to the shacks themselves. Wonder if they were used as greenhouses, or as some kind of chicken coop (although the windows kind of rule out the coop concept as well). They definitely look to be constructed for special use of one kind or another.

One thing you won't find in that dump:

Plastic. Plastic bags. Any variety of inorganic disposable crap.

[Chemically speaking, most plastics are organic, not inorganic. I say this as someone who labored through two years of organic chemistry. Circa 1912 plastics would include bakelite, celluloid, pyralin etc. - Dave]


Do you suppose there were people living in what appear to be shanties in the middle ground on the right?


You have to wonder what's sitting on top of that time capsule these days.

Slim Pickin's

Not much there, but I'd still love to go back in time and paw through the drifts of stuff.

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