How did they keep it from catching fire?
Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen
Oh my gracious!
I find the picture very sad. That poor little girl in dirty rags. The picture of poverty during the depression.
If you ever feel your kitchen isn't all it could be, imagine working in that one!
It's an amazing image credited to Carl Mydans of the Resettlement Administration that had as it's goal the relocation of farmers from dust-bowl decimated lands to planned, RA-built living and farming cooperatives.
This image was part of the photography project - you can find related images at the Library of Congress online. There were also film and folk-song projects that documented a way of life that was already disappearing in 1930s America. This effort was part of the New Deal that aimed to lift people out of squalor and place them in communities like Greenhills, Ohio that were planned with a village green, surrounded by a commercial city center encircled by homes, that were then surrounded by a green belt of land for farming, and for childplay. What a lovely idea.
Don't be sad - think of this as the "Before" image
"Kitchen of Ozarks cabin purchased for Lakes of the Ozarks project. Missouri."
and this image of the kitchen of one of the Greenhills homes as the "After"
Can you imagine what it would do to a life to go from before to after? These families and others who lived in Greenbelt, MD, or Greendale, WI must have thought they were living in heaven on earth. It certainly set a high standard (one we never met again) for public housing.
This post was edited by EAM44 on Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 0:54
I actually find that kitchen rather sweet. It was a working, sustaining kitchen in a viable home. Desperate, degraded people don't cut newspaper insulation into pretty scallops, have an obviously frequently used wash tub and a smiling child. The fire hazard's pretty awful, but on the plus side I doubt the outside was more than a few steps from any place in the house.
As for the "after," displacing people into newly created projects in towns and cities? Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn't. As we know. Hope it did for these people.
I think the little girl looks happier and healthier than today's American poor, who suffer from terrible nutrition. I bet the food that little girl ate was real food.
Another photo from the same home that housed 6 people:
I think the mother's face tells the truth of the situation... probably the little girl was excited for a fancy, well-dressed, quasi-famous photographer to be in her own home. That doesn't mean conditions were good. Carl was sent out to document rural, depressed areas.
Not that my situation ever compared to hers, but I recall those breastfeeding moments when I was forced to *stop* and *relax* because I couldn't multitask. It was peaceful and quiet.
I bet in the moments after this photo was taken, she had a few choice words for Carl.
Thanks for the original post, donaleen! I grew up not far from the Ozarks. And many of my best kitchen strategies come from my grandmothers who cooked right through the Depression.
Hmm, I think that from this modern age we forget that the urban "modern kitchen" of the 30's wasn't a reality for the vast majority of the country. Electricity was not universally available, nor was piped-in gas, nor water from pipes. Many areas weren't all that far removed from the homesteading days. The wood (or coal) stove was still the most common source of heat and cookery.
There is a local general store near to me that just closed--still had its pot-belly stove that they still used for heating.
Greenhills OH. I did not know that it had its origins as an RA community! I grew up near there. People from there were rather "looked down on" as I recall when I was a child -- some 30 years later!
raee, how interesting that a stigma can persist even when its origins are unknown. Certainly the original residents would have been poor, uneducated, rural folks that spoke accented (compared to Ohioans) English, so wealthier inhabitants of neighboring communities might have "looked down" on them at the time, or as you point out, from that time on! The Greenhills, OH website boasts that some of its citizens are third generation descendants of original residents so they must not mind the condescension. They have their own golf course :)
rosie, none of the families in the greenbelt communities was forcibly relocated, in fact, they had to apply for resettlement. I find it unimaginable that moving from before to after was anything but a blessing for these folks, don't you?
It's hard to find an unbiased analysis of the effects of resettlement, but generally they all read like this: good for the people it moved, bad for the country unless you - want - to be a Socialist country.
It was a fascinating time in US history.
It's very hard to change your way of life. It sounds like these people were forced to do so for economic reasons. I suspect they lived in the country and moved to town. That can be very difficult.
I get it - I really do - but they did a lot of good for a lot of people and gave them land to farm after their own land was lost. Here's another "Before" image from Hamilton, OH. These are the living conditions they were trying to ameliorate, although one must concede that having the bedroom, kitchen, dining and living rooms in a single space is the ultimate open floor plan. The "After" image below is from the Westmoreland, PA project. I'd be happy to have that kitchen in my own house today. Both images are Mydan's.
Wow. How kitchens have changed. Thanks for posting this. It's a reminder to be grateful for what I have. And not stress my renovations. I'd like to frame that photo and keep the child's smile in my kitchen.