You don’t know anything about how many people are living in trailers, till you ‘hit’ Florida”

Many people traveled to California from all over the country in the 1930’s seeking work due to the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.  They traveled in many vehicles, by trains, trucks, cars and many were homemade trailers. Some even walked. Dorothea Lange, photograher captured many of these various modes of transportation.

The song, A Traveler’s Line, was recorded in 1940 at the Shafter FSA camp in Shafter, California and it reflected a migrants’ life.  Mary Sullivan was the singer.

The photograph below is a car with a homemade trailer traveling down U. S. 101 near King City in 1936 of a middle-aged man and his wife. They were traveling from Wisconsin to California.

When questioned about his trailer by photographer Dorothea Lange, the man said,  “Old Man Depression sent us out on the road. Been out two years. You don’t know anything about how many people are living in trailers, till you ‘hit’ Florida”

Note on mobile housing been out two years

The photographer, Dorothea Lange  noted that she passed twenty-eight cars of the type below of migrant families on U. S. Highway 99 between Bakersfield and Famoso, California while driving thirty-five miles between 9:00 and 9:45 in the morning November, 1936.

Migrant family on U.S. Highway 99 between Bakersfield and Famoso, California

 

An oil worker built himself a trailer and took to the road California. It looks like he had trouble with a tire on the trailer. An oil worker builds himself a trailer and takes to the road California

 

Three carloads of Mexicans were headed for the Imperial Valley to harvest peas near Bakersfield, California in 1936.

Three carloads of Mexicans headed for the Imperial Valley to harvest peas. Near Bakersfield, California

 

This family of Mexicans were having tire trouble on the road. They were looking for work in the pea fields of  California in February of 1936. Migrants, family of Mexicans, on road with tire trouble. Looking for work in the peas. California

 

These migrant pea workers on the road have all their worldly possessions in a car and trailer  as they head to California.

Migrant pea workers on the road All their worldly possessions in car and trailer California

 

Photographer Dorothea Lange took a photograph of one more home on wheels headed to California with at least two occupants.

Occupants--one more home on wheels. California

 

The string of five housecars below represents good conditions among pea pickers in California in 1936.

String of five housecars. This group represents good conditions among pea pickers. California

 

Mexicans bound for the Imperial Valley to harvest peas. Near Bakersfield, California Nov. 1936Mexicans bound for the Imperial Valley to harvest peas. Near Bakersfield, California

 

This young family was seen. They were penniless and hitchhiking on U.S. Highway 99, California. The father, twenty-four, and the mother, seventeen, came from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, early in 1935. Their baby was born in the Imperial Valley, California, where they were working as field laborers.

Young family penniless hitchhiking on U.S. Highway 99 in California

Young family, penniless, hitchhiking on U.S. Highway 99,

 

To serve the crops of California, thousands of families lived on wheels. These were near Bakersfield, California.

To serve the crops of California, thousands of families live on wheels. Near Bakersfield, California

 

Migratory families often lived in auto camps on the way to California.

Migratory family in auto camp. California

 

This wife of a migratory worker is doing her best to wash clothes in an auto camp in California.

Wife of migratory worker in auto camp. California

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