some running notes on the coal regions:

My Sister with Grandma and Samson, Furnace St, Turkey Run, PA. 1973

My Sister with Grandma and Samson, Furnace St, Turkey Run, PA. 1973


Hemmed in on all sides by the coal fields and Locust Mountain to the north, Shenandoah provided home to nearly 30,000 people at its peak in the 1920’s. For perspective, that’s more crowded than New York City or San Francisco was during the same time.  Wood framed houses and apartments have been packed five to a parcel in some places. The narrow lots stretch back far enough that the back alleys were converted into streets themselves. Houses line both sides of the tight alleyways barely wide enough for one car to pass, nevermind two. Doorways and stoops open out directly across one another, like medieval city centers in europe do, but there’s no timbered history here, it’s all haphazard balloon frame construction, decked out piecemeal over the years to conform to the popular tastes of all aluminum siding and asphalt shingles, each house rigged up and offset from the one beside it, with barely two alike, their pitched roofs and dormer windows overhanging into the street below, crossed above by a catenary of wires.

   1938 Aerial photograph of Shenandoah.

   1938 Aerial photograph of Shenandoah.