Wilson Dam Fish Catch 1940

Wilson Dam spans the Tennessee River between Lauderdale and Colbert Counties in Northwestern Alabama. Dam construction was started in 1918 but not completed until 1924. According to Wikipedia: “In 1966, the Department of the Interior designated Wilson Dam a National Historic Landmark and added it to the National Register of Historic Places for its role as the first dam under TVA supervision.” The dam has a long and interesting history that can be researched online.

The photograph above is in the Public Domain, coming from the United States Geological Survey, an agency of the United States Department of the Interior.

Not only is this photo interesting from a historical point of view but I found a few oddities in the image.

There are 17 people in this photograph and all of them are men. That in itself is not unusual for the 1940s. Most men were wearing overalls or coveralls which seems to be appropriate for fishing, but I noticed that a few men are actually wearing dress pants and shirts! I found that very odd. Do you think they were only there for the photo shoot?

I also noticed that not only was there only one man wearing a bathing suit but he was also the only man wearing glasses and the only man not wearing a hat!

What do you suppose that man’s job or purpose was that day? Rolled up netting is perched on his shoulder. I wonder if that is how all of those fish were caught. Was he the only man who entered the water that day? Was he responsible for laying out and gathering up the netting?

Old photographs can certainly peak our imagination when there are no captions or explanations for activities that may be carried out very differently than they are in modern times. I bet many of you have found family photographs of ancestors without dates, names or explanations of the activities written on the back of the photographs.

Let’s look at these old images and pretend that we are there that very day. Imagine it. Be there. Live it in your mind. Lose track of time and enjoy the experience as I bet these men enjoyed the experience of fishing at Wilson Dam in the 1940s.

Have a great time being in the moment today and every day.


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