Friday, November 20, 2015

In the Cold - Trinity Houses - Philadelphia - circa 1930s/1940s

Saw this on an Old images of Philadelphia blog that I follow and contribute to.

I cannot tell you how many great aunts, cousins, neighbors and one Ggrandmother this image evokes in my memory. These women were all worn out from life and I cannot imagine great heat or comfort from a stove like that. The only thing these women I think had in common, they all kept up with the color of their hair from their glorious youth.

Also, I grew up in Philly and all this substandard housing got torn down in urban renewal in the 50’s and the monster of I-95 that consumed tens of thousands of these quaint houses in the 60s which if left untouched would have left cute fodder for hipster renewal these days and exorbinate prices. 

But in reality, a lot of these trinity houses, three floors stacked on each other with a winding stair in the corner, a lot of these houses were on alley ways and in many instances, the city could not install modern sewage because the narrow thoroughfare at street level locked in sewage pipe/tunnel installation from below street level would cut off access to the housing. Many times that was the reason the one toilet or the one water pump on the property was out in the backyard off another alley or at the end of the row of houses.

(Typical view in the first floor room of a trinity house.
From the Temple University Libraries, Urban Archives;
ca; ?
Description....Older woman sits next to wood stove with kindle in a bucket at her feet. Bushel basket sitting on right. Decorative fireplace sits in wall behind woman. Open door. A box, clock, oil lantern and cup sit on mantle.)

Comment on blog: That's really interesting. The little stove she's sitting next to was designed for heating water for doing laundry in the laundry rooms or basements of large houses. But it was probably just the right size to heat a trinity room.


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