Squatters living in coke ovens in southwestern Pennsylvania, circa 1934.
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Image of two men and two children sitting outside on a bench in front of their coke oven home.

Credit: Courtesy of The Coal and Coke Heritage Center, Penn State Fayette,

Although the plight of city residents attracted the most public attention in Pennsylvania during the Great Depression, some of the worst poverty in the state was in the rural mining districts in northeastern and southwest Pennsylvania. Not far from Pittsburgh some unemployed miners and their families squatted in abandoned coke ovens. This photograph was taken by Louis S. Michael, an amateur photographer who documented his family, friends, and everyday life around Pittsburgh.

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