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Down and Out in Omaha: 1938

Down and Out in Omaha: 1938

November 1938. Omaha, Nebraska. "Lower Douglas Street, where the unemployed hang out." 35mm negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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I believe it's a 1933 Plymouth, Model PD, from fairly late in the model year. Hints: Goddess mascot, long-teardrop headlights, front-fender sweep, arched bumper, horn mounted under the headlight, hubcap shape, hood louvers (and the hood covers most of the cowl), deep arc of lower windshield (which is hinged at the top).

Here's mine, fresh out of the barn, in 1987. After sitting since 1959, all it needed was a battery and TLC, and it started right up.

Love the clothes

Did people just get more dressed up back then even to just go to the store?

Pressed for time

They're not unemployed - just waiting for their suits to be pressed.

Jake & Elwood

The New ***stone Hotel, with its "Clean, Modern Rooms" featuring cracked glass windows and "E-Z Tatter Shades" reminds me of the hotel the Blues Brothers lived in until Carrie Fisher blew it up!

While You Wait

Personally I've never done it that way. Those pressing tables can get awfully hot. I would prefer to leave the suit and come back later.


Wouldn't be known for its beach for six years or so. I wonder what little Warren Buffett was doing at this precise moment. Conor Oberst couldn't handle this kind of depression.

The Car blur

Might that be a 1935 Chevrolet passing by? I can't be sure.


The unemployed in 1938 dressed better than most people going to work today.

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