During the Depression, thousands of Americans took to living in their trailers year-round. Because trailer residents could pull up stakes easily and because they did not pay real estate taxes, trailerites were seen as a social problem. During the 1930s, permanent trailer parks, such as the Ryder Mobile Home Park on Route 1 in Milford, Connecticut, began to cater to trailer residents. Although many people looked down on them, trailer parks provided a low-cost housing alternative.
Silver Dome trailer catalog, 1937
Trailers of the 1930s were usually 16 to 20 feet long and 6 or 7 feet wide. Living in such a small space was a challenge, and many trailer families moved their domestic lives outdoors when the weather permitted. Such behavior violated 1930s notions of propriety and helped give trailers a bad name.
Fetching water, Ryder Mobile Home Park, Connecticut, 1939
At the Ryder Mobile Home Park, early facilities were primitive. Residents whose trailers lacked toilets used chamber pots or an outdoor privy, and there were limited showering facilities. Trailerites had to go to an outdoor tap to get water.