Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hotel De Gink

What in the heck is the "Hotel De Gink"? Apparently, this was a self-run hotel for homeless men and transients. "Gink" is the hobo word for man or gentleman. Interestingly enough I learned that the term hobo came from post Civil War lingo. It was applied to the soldiers that were travelling home by train. Homeward Bound became Hobo (this according to a Civil War Battle Guide friend of mine). I'm sure there are other explanations for the origin of the term, but this one seems pretty reasonable in my eyes.

The original 'Hotel De Gink" was started by a hobo named Jeff Davis in 1913 in Seattle, WA. It later burned down in 1915 and several establishments bearing the same name opened across the United States. This is an interesting statement on the economy at the time as the Great Depression was still a long way off yet.

The photos are from the George Grantham Bain collection at the Library of Congress and feature a slice of daily life at the "Hotel De Gink". Some of them are from New York City in the Bowery. Some did not list or indicate a location.

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