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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.









5 comments:

grant said...

Looks like denim wasn't too popular with hobos at Hotel De Gink.

Rivet Head said...

Yeah, mostly wool and chambray!

r_bot said...

Excellent photo find! That period was such a pivotal point in U.S. history - the triumph of capitalism, the incredible resistance by organized labor, the establishment of today's reigning kings of banking and finance, woman's suffrage, etc. And their style was impeccable!

I highly recommend "You Can't Win" by Jack Black, if you haven't read it. It has some amazing descriptions of what life was like for the hobo, wino, opium fiend, and thief of the early 20th century.

"Living My Life" by Emma Goldman and "Sister of the Road" by Bertha Thompson and Ben Reitman also have some great moments based around this time period.

r_bot said...

Some excellent photo finds lately, especially these! This period in U.S. history was so pivotal - the triumph of capitalism and the amazing resistance by organized labor, the establishment of many of the banking and finance firms that still dominate today, woman's suffrage, mass migration from farm to cities, the coming of "modern" warfare, etc. And of course impeccable style!

I highly recommend "You Can't Win" by Jack Black, if you haven't already read it. It's descriptions of what life was like for the hobo, wino, opium fiend, and thief of the early 20th century are incredible.

Rivet Head said...

Thanks! I've read "You Can't Win" and shared it with many friends. It's a classic, riveting tale for certain.

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