Greenhills, Ohio

They might want to keep an eye on what’s going on behind them.

Swingset at Greenhills, Ohio, ca. 1938, probably by John Vachon for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Greenhills, Ohio, was one of three “Greenbelt Towns” built between 1935 and 1938 by the U.S. Resettlement Administration. (The other two are Greenbelt, Maryland, and Greendale, Wisconsin.) There are more Library of Congress photos of Greenhills here.

The Sunday porch: Route 800

barnesville-oh-1974-documerica-u-s-national-archives“Residents of an older home,* built in the 1850’s, take advantage of the summer weather to sit on their front porch off Route #800.” Barnesville, Ohio, July 1974. Below, the back porch.

back-porch-barnesville-oh-1974-documerica-u-s-national-archives

Both photos above were taken by Erik Calonius for DOCUMERICA, an early photography program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are shown, with the original caption, via The U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr.

From 1972 to 1977, the EPA hired over 100 photographers to “document subjects of environmental concern.” They created an archive of about 20,000 images.

In addition to recording damage to the nation’s landscapes, the project captured “the era’s trends, fashions, problems, and achievements,” according to the Archives, which held an exhibit of the photos, “Searching for the Seventies,” in 2013.

By 1974, the proliferation of porchless ranch-style houses, air-conditioning, and television had made sitting on a shady front porch in hot weather something of an anomaly for many Americans.


*A visitor to the first photo’s flickr page wrote, “This house stood on the north side of State Route 800, near Barnesville, at about 40.014772, -81.168533. The section pictured here may have been of log construction.”

The Sunday porch: Silver Lake

Log House, Akron, Ohio, via Miami University, flickr“Log house at Silver Lake, Akron, Ohio,” between 1905 and 1909, by Illustrated Post Card Co., via Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries Commons on flickr.

.  .  . I care less and less
about the shapes of shapes because forms
change and nothing is more durable than feeling.

Terrance Hayes, from “What it Look Like