Thursday, October 20, 2016

Segregation Forms: Redlining

The University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab has developed a fantastic resource that provides access to hundreds of so-called "security maps" created between 1935 and 1940. The product of the Home Owners' Loan Corporation [HOLC], the maps and area descriptions represent the neighborhood risk assessments generated by mortgage lenders, developers and real estate appraisers. HOLC's analyses were the basis for what came to be referred to as redlining, segregationist housing and real estate practices.

Image above: Wichita Mapping & Engineering Company. Wichita, Kansas. 29 May 1937. Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al. "Mapping Inequality," American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, accessed 20 October 2016,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


The S.P. Dinsmoor Residence located in Lucas, Kansas contains some fine examples of early twentieth-century sheet linoleum. The parlor features a printed woven pattern (above) and the upstairs area has a floral-foliate motif (below). Varnished by successive property owners, the linoleum has darkened and is highly reflective.
By about 1910, American linoleum was frequently being made with linseed oil (derived from flax) and "lumber flour" (pulverized sawdust).(1) The product was considered sanitary, and thus was also used to line pantry shelves and protect kitchen tables.(2)  Blabon's and Cork's were two period manufacturers. Their products were priced by grade and sold in different patterns. To preserve one's flooring, home economists recommended polishing the surface with skim milk and a flannel cloth, then allowing it to dry completely.(3)

(1)Cork flour was a more expensive (and traditional) element. Lumber flour was also utilized in making a less expensive dynamite. See:  "Make Flour From Lumber." Hutchinson Daily News 7 December 1909.

(2)"Of Feminine Interest." Lawrence Journal World 25 December 1907.

(3)"Clever Ways of Doing Things." Belleville Telescope 17 May 1907.

Images above: Flooring, S.P. Dinsmoor Residence, Lucas, Kansas, as photographed 1.10.2016 by K. Rylance.