Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hobo at Barber

Today's picture shows a Hobo at the Hotel de Gink, which was a hotel in New York catering to Hobos. Hey, I found an explanation for where the term "Hobo" came from. After the Civil War was over, there were hundreds of thousands of men all trying to get home. Much of the transportation infrastructure had been destroyed, so men were doing whatever they could to travel home. The men were all tattered, and were all Homeward Bound, or Hobo. Don't know if it is right, but sounds reasonable.


  1. Unfortunately, the definition became distorted with the Hobos of the depression because most of them were leaving what was left of their homes to scramble around the country looking for work, food or a reason to keep up the struggle. It was a grim time for America.

  2. I couldn't let Hobo Week pass without a reference to Merle Haggard's tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman. In MHO this is the best Haggard record he ever recorded. It's called "Same Train - A Different Time" and has been reissued after a long period of unavailability. He recorded the album in 7 sessions between Aug. 86 and Feb. 69.

    Here's a YouTube link to my favorite cut:

    Hobo's Meditation

    1. I have had that on vinyl for many years. Time to transfer it to digital. Very good.

  3. Looks like he is waiting to be decapitated!

  4. Hobo was a contraction of Hoe Boy. They were itinerant field workers. They carried a hoe (or at least a stick) and tied their bindle to the end of it. Over time other kinds of workers were on the drift & the term grew to include them as well.

  5. Homelessness was both a local and a national problem prior to America's entry into World War I. Unemployed and homeless men, known variously as hoboes and "ginks," responded to their condition by organizing work gangs, small businesses, and self-managed hostels in major cities. Seattle's first such "Hotel de Gink" was established by Jeff Davis in 1913 at 5th Avenue and Madison Street, then the site of Providence Hospital (now the Federal Courthouse). Under the management of Henry "Baldy" Pauly, it relocated in 1914 to Rainier Avenue S and S Dearborn Street and was renamed the Hotel Liberty. By 1915, initially positive public sentiment toward homeless self-help efforts began to sour, and the Liberty was closed by the winter. Burgeoning ship orders and other defense jobs temporarily thinned the ranks of the unemployed on the eve of America's involvement in World War I, but the problem would return after 1929 and again in the 1980s and lead to other experiments in the homeless housing themselves such as the Great Depression's Hoovervilles and today's Tent Cities.

    The original hotel and others that were established around the US is interesting ….

    Lots of good photos along with the information.