Shenandoah in 1938 – Photographs of Filipek’s Bar

In 1938, photographer Sheldon Dick crisscrossed Pennsylvania taking photographs for the Information Division of the United States Farm Security Administration.

As part of his treks through the Keystone State, Dick photographed numerous Coal Region communities including Mount Carmel, Gilberton, Pottsville, and St. Clair. These images were captured in order to tell future generations about the era and conditions in rural America during the Great Depression.

Among the most compelling images in this collection, now housed at the Library of Congress and available online, are those captured inside Filipek’s Bar in Shenandoah. They show the grittiness of this Coal Region community, document the dire times that saw anthracite communities begin their slow declines, but also charm the viewer by showing an intimate look into the lives of Shenandoah residents.

While Dick neglected to share the names of the subjects of his photographs, we can nevertheless gain understandings about the people he photographed. Many are hardworking miners with calloused hands and faces left stained with the coal dust of the mines. Enjoy these photographs and if you have any insights into the subjects of these photographs, their identities, or the exact location of Filipek’s Bar, please share below!

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Featured Image: Residents of Shenandoah at Filipek’s Bar in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania in 1938 (Library of Congress)

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