Hobo camps

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Hobo camps

Postby NRGeep » Tue May 22, 2018 2:06 pm

Where were they in New England? Any remnants anywhere?
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby CarterB » Tue May 22, 2018 2:09 pm

Yup, most of downtown Hartford CT
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Ken W2KB » Tue May 22, 2018 9:44 pm

NRGeep wrote:Where were they in New England? Any remnants anywhere?


I suppose that those whom were previously termed hobos are not called homeless, and here and there some may camp on or near railroad property. That said, I don't believe that the older hobo camps had any infrastructure when in use, hence nothing that could constitute a remnant other than the land as such.
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu May 24, 2018 7:02 pm

While not in New England this one was on the New Haven just east of the bridge at Pelham Bay on the west side of the tracks. No buildings here but it was a big hangout.
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Plate C » Fri May 25, 2018 10:01 am

Interesting question/subject, what is your interest?

Without going into hobo history, it is basically an underground movement that would frown on people disclosing things like camp locations. Certainly they are not what they used to be, but not a thing of the past either. If you're pursuing remnants of hobos past, like the old coded symbols they would leave, you're more likely to find that on the West Coast where some do exist. I don't think I've ever seen the older writing lasting anywhere else. There are active camps across the country, and many others that are used by someone passing through, they just clean it up before leaving so the area looks old/undisturbed.
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby NRGeep » Fri May 25, 2018 3:56 pm

Plate C wrote:Interesting question/subject, what is your interest?

Without going into hobo history, it is basically an underground movement that would frown on people disclosing things like camp locations. Certainly they are not what they used to be, but not a thing of the past either. If you're pursuing remnants of hobos past, like the old coded symbols they would leave, you're more likely to find that on the West Coast where some do exist. I don't think I've ever seen the older writing lasting anywhere else. There are active camps across the country, and many others that are used by someone passing through, they just clean it up before leaving so the area looks old/undisturbed.


I recently read 'One More Train to Ride The Underground World of Modern American Hoboes' by Cliff Williams (OATS) 2003
Indeed it appears there is still a roving community of those folks mostly in western states. Interesting insights into this restless, mostly hard working, misunderstood sub culture.
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Plate C » Fri May 25, 2018 6:55 pm

A buddy gave me that book a few years ago, think I still have it. I've stumbled upon numerous camps over time. Even without camps, there are signs in many places of hobos passing through. The West Coast, yes, and I saw a lot in the Midwest, mainly younger people trying to get from A to B. Plenty of decent people, but of course also random eccentrics and a few bad eggs. Really, if the train goes there, someone has probably caught it.
Separate but related, you might enjoy a documentary called Who Is Bozo Texino by Bill Daniels. It's an examination of the monikers found on railcars left by hobos and the men of the railroad.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgSRiJjmnYY
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue May 29, 2018 11:59 am

NRGeep wrote:Where were they in New England? Any remnants anywhere?


New England is a pretty big place, don't you agree?

Remnants? Of what, exactly? What are you imagining a "hobo camp" is?

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Re: Hobo camps

Postby NRGeep » Wed May 30, 2018 9:47 am

Otto Vondrak wrote:
NRGeep wrote:Where were they in New England? Any remnants anywhere?


New England is a pretty big place, don't you agree?

Remnants? Of what, exactly? What are you imagining a "hobo camp" is?

-otto-


I don't "imagine" any particular hobo camp or as they used to say hobo jungle.
Since I posted that question, I have learned the hobos who would have traveled through the New England states (and elsewhere) in general prided themselves in leaving nothing behind and would burn their trash or bury it, hence, any evidence of their transitory existence is gone or buried.
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Plate C » Wed May 30, 2018 11:25 am

Not quite gone/buried. You cleaned up your trash and such and kept the area clean, so leave no trace in that sense. But you can find other stuff, usually rocks arranged for a fire, maybe a grill top. Sometimes a bare mattress that people have attempted to maintain. I've come across many monikers too indicating that people had been there. Not unusual to find a piece of furniture like a chair or bench, sometimes constructed from brush or trees, and often decorated by who has passed through.

When I was in the Midwest there were some common locations that people caught the train or got off, and near these areas were well decorated with an assortment of monikers and odd nic-nacs that people left.

On the West Coast there is an old water tower that survives with old hobo markings in it, believe it's in CA.
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Re: Hobo camps

Postby Komarovsky » Thu May 31, 2018 8:11 pm

Nothing left now, but there was a hobo camp at the old Penn Central yard south of Battleship Cove. I found out about it while reviewing the environmental forms that were filed as part of the development process that converted the yard into condos/a marina at an old job. There were several shacks above the water on the periphery of the yard that were at the time occupied by hobos/transients and according to the report had continuously occupied for some time(report was from the late 80s IIRC). Interestingly enough, Penn Central didn't know who owned the shacks and they technically weren't on their property since they were over the tidal flats.

From what I understand the pilings that the shacks were on are still visible at low tide, but other than that the entire area has been redeveloped.
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