Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Then and Now: Cooper Street

One of the first data bases I went to in order to see what they had on file for Douglasville was the Library of Congress.

I happened upon a series of photographs taken during the late 1930s/early 1940s of three houses along Cooper Street.

Here are two views of 6286 Cooper Street in Douglasville, Georgia from the front:

And a view from the rear:

The pictures were taken by Michael Wyatt, a photographer working with the Historic American Buildings Survey which like most government programs is often referred to by an acronym - HABS.

The survey was first proposed by Charles E. Peterson, a landscape architect with the National Parks Service during the Great Depression.

Basically, the survey was a program to create jobs for out of work architects, draftsmen, and photographers. It was their job to survey and document America's architectural heritage, and I'm glad they did.

The survey was the beginning of a movement towards historic preservation in the United States. We also ended up with an archive of primary source material that is invaluable today for all types of research including the work I do. We also ended up with a wealth of open source documents and photographs showing how cities, towns and communities all across the United States looked at the time.

The collection is housed at the Library of Congress, but can be accessed online utilizing the link I gave above.

Today HABS is an ongoing program and is administered by the Heritage Documentation Program, a division of the National Parks Service.

Michael Wyatt documented the homes along Cooper Street because they were an "extant [or surviving (at the time)] example of worker housing constructed as part of a mill village complex."

The homes date to around 1900, and yes, they were part of the cotton mill village for THE cotton mill that burned in 2012.

I did a drive-by the other day and got a few pictures of the same house. It's a little different, but not much.

As far as I can tell the Cooper Street homes are the only entries in the early days of the HABS survey.
I'll be uploading the original views of the three homes to Facebook in an album soon.

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