Communal Wash House
Original Author: Unknown
Created: 1904
Medium: Printed photograph

Communal Wash House

Women, children, and two young men stand outside a dilapidated building that serves as a communal wash house for the surrounding houses in Philadelphia. At center, a wash basin leans against the public hydrant, the only water source for the residents. The hydrant has only surface drainage. This is one in a series of photographs that illustrate Emily W. Dinwiddie's Housing Conditions in Philadelphia (1904), a study conducted under the direction of the Octavia Hill Association, a private organization devoted to improving housing conditions for the poor. In her forty-two-page publication, Dinwiddie pointed out the lack of proper ventilation and sanitation in dwellings for Philadelphia's poorest residents.

Citation: Housing Conditions in Philadelphia. F221 v.421. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.