Walker Evan’s look at the Lehigh Valley in the Depression era

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A cross-shaped gravestone sits atop a hillside cemetery. At the bottom of the hill, rowhomes, telephone polls and smokestacks from a steel mill clutter the area.

The gravestone is in St. Michael’s Cemetery. The homes are part of a neighborhood in South Bethlehem. Those smokestacks belong to Bethlehem Steel. The year is 1935. The photographer who captured the image is Walker Evans.

Called “Bethlehem Graveyard and Steel Mill,” Evans’ photo became famous. It is included in the collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

But it was only one of many images Evans captured of the Lehigh Valley during his 1935 visit. He was here on behalf of the Farm Security Administration, a Great Depression-era program launched by the federal government to fight rural poverty.  Read more.

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