Pipe City
4 in HIGH x 5 in WIDE
(10.16 cm HIGH x 12.70 cm WIDE)
Gift of Mr. Martin J. Cooney

At the end of Nineteenth Avenue, Oakland, homeless men created the community "Pipe City" living in the surplus lengths of sewer pipe belonging to the American Concrete and Steel Pipe Company on the estuary. The company allowed the the men to winter in their makeshift concrete homes on company land. Pipe City, also known as "Misseryville," became home to about 203 men. To qualifiy for a pipe to sleep in a man had to be jobless, homeless, hungry and scruffy --but absolutely not helpless.

Picture This Information

This artifact is part of the OMCA's Picture This website. More about the context and history of this artifact is available at Picture This.

About the Picture This web project: California's Perspectives on American History is a resource for teachers and students to learn about the experiences of diverse peoples of California by using primary source images from the Oakland Museum of California's collections. Organized into 11 time periods spanning from pre-1769 to the present, more than 300 photographs, drawings, posters, and prints tell stories from the perspectives of different ethnic groups. Historical contexts are provided to offer a framework of California's role in relation to American history.

The National Archives state that primary sources, "fascinate students because they are real and they are personal: history is humanized through them." Picture This invites students to examine the historical record, encouraging them to connect history with real people and explore how images tell stories and convey historical evidence about the human experience. History becomes more than just a series of facts, dates, and events.      

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