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The 1930's Dust Bowl

The devastation of the Great Plains during the 1930's Read more >>

Throughout the 1930's, the Great Plains states of the U.S. (mainly Texas & Oklahoma, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas) as well as Canada experienced an historically unprecedented dust bowl. It was created by poor farming methods that essentially stripped the top layer of soil. This forced tens of thousands of people to abandon their farms, many of them moving to California. These are the pictures of their lands and times. << Read less
A photo of a massive dust storm moving into Elkhard, Kansas.
It may look like snow but this is dust: Severe wind erosion made this farm uninhabitable. Cimarron County, Oklahoma April 1936.
Autos have to turn on lights to penetrate gloom of a dust storm. Amarillo, Texas
Refugees from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl arrive in San Fernando, California. This (unnamed family) photo was taken in June of 1935 by Dorothea Lange, who documented many affects of the Dust Bowl on the farmers. The caption says: "More Oklahomans reach Calif. via the cotton fields of Ariz." The family seems to be carrying all of their possessions in their car and there is a box on the front bumper labeled "Scotch Soap'.
People in this photo:
Over this bridge drought refugees are crossing the Colorado River into California. U.S. 80 / Dorothea Lange, 1935.
A new Dust Bowl program for the Southwest was created in Washington, D.C. on June 2, 1937. This photo shows Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace appointing Roy I. Kimmel, of Amarillo, Texas to coordinate a broad federal program to rehabilitate the soil, conserve the soil, resettle farmers, and create a AAA wind erosion program in 100 counties (comprising 140,000 sq miles) in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico. Roy Kimbel had been in charge of the RA Rehabilitation Program (the Resettlement Administration created in 1935) in the southwest and his original appointment was effective for an indefinite term. Shown left to right in the picture are; Wallace, Kimmel, and Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Milburn Lincoln "M.L." Wilson.
People in this photo:
Dust bowl farmer with tractor and young son near Cland, New Mexico
This is a photo of Dust bowl farmer driving tractor with young son near... added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
Dust bowl farmer driving tractor with young son, near Cland, New Mexico.
This is a photo of Leveling hummocks in dust bowl, thirty miles north of... added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
A farm in Dalhart Texas in 1938. The farm was affected by the Dust Bowl but remained occupied, at least in 1938. Others in the same area were abandoned. The owners were hardy people to remain on that land! The photo was taken by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration.
People in this photo:
A photo of an abandoned farm during the Dust Bowl in the Coldwater District, near Dalhart, Texas in June of 1938. The photo was taken by Dorothea Lange, who documented the Dust Bowl for the Farm Security Administration.
People in this photo:
Mailbox in Dust Bowl. Coldwater District, north of Dalhart, Texas
This is a photo of Sand drift along fence. Dust Bowl, north of Dalhart, Texas added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
Abandoned farm on the high plains, Texas County, Oklahoma.
This is a photo of Leveling hummocks in the dust bowl. Coldwater District,... added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
This is a photo of Blowing dust in the Oklahoma Panhandle added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
This is a photo of Abandoned farm. Coldwater District, north of Dalhart, Texas added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
This is a photo of Barn and shed of farm in the Texas Panhandle. Near Boise... added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
Farm Security Administration camp for migrant agricultural workers at Shafter, California
This is a photo of Dust bowl farmers of west Texas in town added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
This is a photo of Home of a dust bowl refugee in California. Imperial County added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
Auto camp north of Calipatria, California. Approximately eighty families from the Dust Bowl are camped here. They pay fifty cents a week. The only available work now is agricultural labor
Depression refugee family from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Arrived in California June 1936. Mother and three half-grown children; no father.
This is a photo of Son of farmer in dust bowl area. Cimarron County, Oklahoma added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
This is a photo of One of the pioneer women of the Oklahoma Panhandle dust bowl added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
Drought refugees. Penniless Oklahomans camped along highway. Came seven months ago.
This is a photo of Dust bowl refugees living in camps in California added by Ancient Faces on January 5, 2012.
Farm child. This family is now resettled on the Bosque Farms project. New Mexico
Sign on building in Forgan, Oklahoma, ghost dust town
This is a photo of Dust storm. Ramsey County, North Dakota added by Ancient Faces on December 31, 2011.
The beginning of a dust storm in northern Florida in March of 1939 - the era of the Dust Bowl. This photo shows what it was like when a dust storm started. Visibility was diminished greatly. The photo was taken by Marion Post Wolcott as a part of a project for the Farm Security Administration to document the Dust Bowl.
People in this photo:
Marion Post Wolcott
Jun 7, 1910 - Nov 24, 1990
Sign in Riverside Park at Vale, Oregon. The picnic on the Fourth of July was in this park. Most of the farmers in this predominately agricultural area are from the Dust Bowl states and the church has strong influence
This is a photo of Mr. Keele, merchant and president of the Farm Bureau. Pie... added by Ancient Faces on December 31, 2011.
Fruit trees in blossom in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. This is an irrigated section which has been farmed for many years by Spanish-Americans and is now being more thickly populated with people from the dust bowl areas
A dust storm in Lubbock Texas during the era of the Dust Bowl - May of 1939. This photo was taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration, which paid many photographers to document this era and its effects.
People in this photo:
This is a photo of Child migrant with doll in tent home. Harlingen, Texas added by Ancient Faces on December 31, 2011.
Kitchen in dust storm area with window sealed with towels. Williams County, North Dakota
Arthur Rothstein took a series of photos in Colorado in 1939, documenting the devastation of the dust bowl and the depression. This is a town abandoned because of crop failures near Keota, Colorado.
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