Homeless Shelter in Pipe City 

A resident of Pipe CityIn the winter of 1932-33 during the Great Depression, 200 jobless, homeless men formed a community at the foot of 19th Ave. called Pipe City. They lived in large, concrete pipes in the storage yard of the American Steel and Concrete Pipe Co. The community had a mayor and rules against drunkenness, uncleanliness and political soap-boxing. Donations from the city and the neighborhood as well as pay from odd jobs were divided among the whole community. Although the pipes provided some shelter and the community was a refuge at a time when unemployment rates soared, living conditions were primitive, and the community was also called Miseryville. You can learn more about Pipe City by reading the original newspaper reports or watching the video in the Resource Center.

Deborah Cooper
Oakland Museum of California

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

Explore this Topic:

"Pipe City" photographs - Oakland Museum of California

back to history map