Carl Mydans took this photograph of children on the west side of Manchester, N.H., in October 1936, 10 months after the bottom fell out of the city’s economy. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, once the world’s cotton textile plant, had gone belly up. On Christmas Eve, 1935, the company suddenly shut its doors and filed for bankruptcy.
Mydans photographed Manchester throughout the fall of 1936 for the Resettlement Administration, a New Deal agency that moved struggling families to planned government communities.
The caption on this photo by Mydans reads, “Padlocked doors on tenement houses are not uncommon in the French section with mills closed down, Amoskeag, Manchester, New Hampshire.”
After the mills closed, there was hope the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company would revive. A flood in March ended all hope of that happening. Mydans took this photo in September, six months after the flood. His photo caption read, “Amoskeag mills as seen from Bridge Street showing supports of Bridge Street from McGregor Street side, the upper structure of which was carried away in the March floods of the Merrimack River. Rope across the river is where new foot bridge is about to be built.”
About a year later, Edwin Locke took this photo of factory girls in Manchester for the same agency. By then, a judge had liquidated Amoskeag Manufacturing and half the buildings were filled with other businesses. They were run by a corporation called Amoskeag Industries, which was formed by local businessmen in 1936.
Mydans took the above photo of a street scene in August 1936. You suspect they’re talking about the mills.
This photo was taken by Edwin Locke in September 1937. It’s untitled, but we’re guessing it shows an Elm Street shop window. Elm Street, also shown below, was the main shopping district in Manchester. In good times, it was alive with activity on Thursday nights, when millworkers deposited their paychecks and went shopping.