THE TENEMENT DWELLERS OF THE PAST SPEAK OUT
ARTICLE ONE JUNE 16, 2020
March 05, 1910,
Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
What the banisters tell
why’s tenement dwellers knew by the condition of the bannisters that the house was unhealthy
Many a gruesome bit of wisdom is gleaned by settlement workers. The other day a woman of philanthropic tendencies trudged miles looking for rooms for an unfortunate family that had to move. As she had made a selection that would fit their scanty means the mother of the family went around to see the rooms before moving in
Oh exclaimed the wise tenement dweller, we’d be worse off here than where we are! This place is too unhealthy. How do you make that out asked the settlement worker. It strikes me as being better than most houses of its class.
The woman pointed to the banisters which ran up through five flights of stairs to the roof and the bannisters were ragged and dented.
Coffins, said the women grimly. That’s what that means coffins is terrible Hard on bannisters. there are too many deaths here to serve me. And when the settlement worker learned that many tenement dwellers really do judge of the healthfulness of a house by the conditions of the banisters she concluded that that place wouldn’t suit her either.