Saturday, August 14, 2010


"Mrs Hale and her oldest son in front of their home near Black River Falls, Wisconsin. This farm house was built with a total expenditure of three dollars in money"

The inscription and photo above is from the Library of Congress collection and  was recorded by Lee Russell, a Federal Works employee during 1937. This was at the height of the Great Depression. 

The depression lasted from 1929 through the early 1940s. Its devastating effects on the economy peaked in 1935 -- unemployment reached 25% at that time. There was also a record numbers of defaults on loans.  

Mrs Hale could have been a victim of the depression?  I imagine her and her family reacting to this financial plight with a "make do," mentality. Perhaps this house was the result. 

Old photographic images can conjure up stories of folkways or material culture. Mrs Hale and maybe with her son built this three dollar house -- perhaps built it so cheaply because of their  predicament during the depression?  Perhaps not, perhaps so?

What kind of photos will we have in our future of the current housing crisis? 

Today and then -- Deja vu. 

Sunday Simplicities is about -- my  outlook on life. Now in retirement I am observing new horizons -- opportunities have surfaced.  Economies have changed as well as my perspective on what is truly important in my simple life.  Stay tuned. 


  1. Looks much like a cabin on our property that was built in the late 1800s by an early settler in the area. Small logs make it possible for a single man to do the work of raising the structure.

  2. We had an old shed/open-fronted garage in our backyard we pulled down 10 years ago, it had been built, back in the Great Depression, entirely out of old kerosene tins (seams undone and stretched out), sheets of recycled iron and tree boughs.
    Make do, recycle and none of this 'disposable' nonsense, everything got used a bajillion times before it was tossed.

  3. Vicki -- Love to view your cabin on one of your posts. I am sure it has a story to tell --thanks -- barbara

  4. Ro -- nice to have you stop by. Your description of your shed is so fascinating. As you describe it -- I would classify it as a vernacular folk shed -- certainly one of a kind constructed by the owner. I sure hope you saved a photo of it. I am sure someone in vernacular architecture in your county would be intrigues by it -- barbara

  5. My in-laws had a log cabin on their Kansas property when they bought it in 1960. They actually tore it down. I cringe at the thought.

  6. Willow -- Yes, I can hear the "cringes." That happened 50 years ago and I believe today we are beginning to be a bit more sensitive to our historical stock of buildings -- not just the grandiose but the vernacular buildings as well. -- barbara