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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • RAPALLO, ITALY: 1947
 

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Making Omaha Famous: 1938

Making Omaha Famous: 1938

November 1938. "Liquor store signs." In Omaha, Nebraska, it was a beer bottle battle of Storz vs. Metz. 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon. View full size.

 

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The location today:


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Location.

As a native Omahan, I am fairly certain that this location was the northeast corner of 23rd and Harney. The corner no longer exists due to misguided redevelopment of the neighborhood, but some of the buildings seen in the background survived. I would love to see more of John Vachon's photos of Omaha. Surely he took some that were more flattering of what was, in 1938, a truly beautiful city.

Location?

The next photo taken by John Vachon shows the street going downhill towards a business district.

Can anyone ID this intersection?

Dave, what's with the holes in half the photos in this series at the LOC site?

[The FSA photographers used hole punches on 35mm negative strips to show rejects -- exposures they didn't want printed. - Dave]

Three-light signals!

When I was a boy in New York City we didn't have three-light signals in my neighborhood until the early fifties. Omaha must have been on the cusp of high-tech.

Actually pretty expensive booze

I started work in 1945 at the Chippewa Salt Company doing a man's job for 60 cents an hour. I can't imagine what the starting wage was in 1938.

Decisions, Decisions

A gallon of wine for a dollar one-nine or a pint of grain for less than a buck? I'll take both, but I'm stayin' away from that gin!

Buddy can you spare some booze?

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. Looking at those prices in the '30s I now understand why.

Reused materials

It looks as though the electrical service drop is attached to a salvaged bed post.

A dime'll get you double

Okay, so I noticed that grain alcohol, while ten cents higher than Seagram's, was likely more than twice the proof. Maybe I need help.

Copyright Infringement

I can hear Jos. Schlitz saying "Get my lawyer on the phone! I want those bums at Metz in Omaha driven out of business today. They can't steal my slogan!"

The Parallel Parking Sign

....on the utility pole out front. Is it for airplanes or land vehicles?

They deliver?

"Hello, I've fallen and I can't get up. Could you please deliver a gallon of Sweet Empire Wine? Thanks much! Oh, when I was last in I forgot to mention how taken I was with the old porch post which you have so cleverly repurposed as a utility pole."

I think I feel sick

Just imagining what could happen with the products advertised and the prices being charged gives me a serious headache and nausea.

Grain alcohol

190 proof will sure do the job if you want to get knee walking drunk.

Can you say

"cheap drunk"?

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