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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Single Wide Trailer

Is there a more poignant symbol of white southern poverty than the single wide trailer?  Down here wherever there are low incomes there are clusters of trailers.  The single-wide trailer is a direct descendant of the RV, which ironically enough is used by the more well off to go on vacation.  At some point someone decided that if they made them just a little bit bigger they could get people to live in them year round.  Traditionally the single wide trailers were made out of shoddy materials.  They are packed with formaldehyde.  There floors were made of press board that would collapse when made wet.  Trailer life ain't an easy life.

I don't want anyone to think for one minute that I am looking down my nose at the trailer dwellers.  I have lived in several single wide trailers in my life, some in fairly sketchy trailer parks.  For example I used to live in the trailer in the upper right hand corner.

So, my trailer cred is firmly intact.

Decaying trailers are a common site along southern backroads.  Their poor construction and the expense it takes to dismantle them leads to being left to rot.  These rotten trailers, occupied and unoccupied have always been something I have photographed.  Here are some I have come across.

Part of an old Arby's sign used to board in the door of an abandoned trailer.....

Single-wide truck stop......

Taken on the Indian Reservation in Cherokee, NC, this trailer has a matching Teepee.....

Single-wide church.....

Something bad happened here.........

Trailer park to close to the river......

Part of a series of hatefully vandalized trailers at a local park......

Yes, that is a single wide trailer next to a giant set of concrete woman's legs.......

Here is "The Graduate" view......

The Carpetbagger

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  1. I love this post. It's interesting that where I grew up, when I got married right out of high school (to someone besides the Mister), when we went out to find somewhere to live, the first thing that we did was go look at new trailers! I think that's interesting now but back in the day, I thought they were pretty cool. But yeah, you'd walk in to those oven hot things and those chemicals would make you want to fall down. I wonder how many people have developed cancer from trailer living? My Dad has a trailer and he makes us call it a "cottage". We happily oblige.

    I'm gonna see those legs one of these days.

  2. I used to live in a converted shed and I called it a "condo" :)

    Over the course of my work I am in alot of trailers. The truth is that they are so shoddy, yet slum lords charm ridiculous amounts for them. Door falling of hinges, walls you can put your hand through, plumbing that falls out the bottom.

    I remember living in a trailer the plumbing broke under the sink and the floor got week. I pulled up the carpet and the pressboard and transformed into oatmeal.

  3. We have a trailer park here that the city condemned it because of a highway they put directly behind it. Some of the renters couldn't find any other place they could afford, so they are still living there, with no electric or water. The grass has grown up and the driveway flooded, but they can't say anything because they aren't supposed to be there. It is so sad. Kids there too.

  4. It's sad to see all these trailers deteriorate. Yet, there is a sadness in them that is also beautiful. I'm an interior design graduate and I've opted to buy a mobile home that I can "practice" on in terms of design and floor space. Yes, it could be expensive to fully renovate but there are ways to get the house of your dreams. Mobile homes are still a viable alternative for self-starters and those retiring. Just find a good location and you're off! For more, see this:

  5. i am glad to see this.