13 June 2010

I continue to search: Heart of Lubbock Neighborhood Association

Mack and Vada Johnson during the Depression, date uncertain

Today's post is a shameless plug for Shirley's project at the Heart of Lubbock Neighborhood Association site. The Johnson family moved to Lubbock in 1937, when Shirley was 4, and she has never left the neighborhood. She is now photographing and documenting the architecture and other history of the area. You can see a number of her photographs, credited to "Mrs. Shelton," on the site gallery.

Here is the current posting under Curbside History.

"In 1935 Lubbock received a large Works Progress Administration grant for work in the city. Much of the workforce was involved in attempting to clear out and renovate the Lubbock Lake, which had gone dry (Carlson, Centennial History of Lubbock). Some of the workers, however, were involved in paving and curbing projects within the city.

"Markers commemorating the work were set into the concrete curbs at various locations. The brass markers note 'Works Progress Administration 1935–1937.' If you spot one, you’ve witnessed a rare artifact of our city’s heritage!

"For a long time I thought there was only one marker surviving within the Heart of Lubbock neighborhood, at the southwestern corner of Avenue V and 26th Street, on the street side. Then, in a single day, I discovered four others. The markers are not placed uniformly, but seemingly at random: one is on the avenue side of an intersection; one is on the southeastern side of an intersection, on the street side; others in the same southwestern corners. Some are in good shape, while some show obvious deterioration over the years since they went embedded in concrete.

"I continue to search."

Shirley Shelton
Shirley at Texas Tech, majoring in journalism

You can probably tell that the Plains architecture series posted here is inspired by Shirley's Heart of Lubbock project and philosophy. We lose first what we document least, and sometimes that which is most familiar and immediate to us is what we are most likely to forget to save. Take a moment to celebrate the ordinary and the everyday--they disappear from view when we least expect it, and they are what shape us most.

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