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How to Use the Images

 

Inquiry Question

Historical Context

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Visual Evidence

Photo 1: Men Seeking Work at Hoover Dam,
August 1931


[Photo 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(Bureau of Reclamation; photographer unknown)

Photo 2: Family in "Ragtown"

[Photo 2] with link to larger version of photo.(Boulder City Museum and Historical Association; photographer unknown. Used by permission)

Questions for Photos 1 and 2:

1. How many men can you count in Photo 1? Why do you think so many people came to this remote and hostile location looking for work? What were conditions like in America in 1931? Refer to your textbook if necessary.

2. Describe the setting in these images. The average high temperature in this area in August is 103 degrees. Summer temperatures in the canyon can easily reach 125 degrees. The area is also prone to cloudbursts, high winds, and sudden floods. What do you think working here would be like? Do you think you would have come here looking for a job?

3. Many of the men seeking work brought their families with them. Why do you think they did that?

4. Work on the dam began sooner than originally planned. Housing for workers in the new town of Boulder City wasn't ready when these photos were taken. Families created a temporary community called "Ragtown." Why do you think it was called that?

5. Describe the shelter shown in Photo 2. Do you think this would have been adequate? The shelter seems to be located next to the river. Do you think that would have been a safe place to live? Why or why not?

Click here for a larger version of Photo 1 and Photo 2.

 

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AYD