Photo Exhibits

Photo exhibits spotlight various topics in Florida history, and are accompanied by brief text intended to place selected materials in historical context.

“Conch Town”
A Photographic Exhibit from the Florida Art Project, WPA


The WPA assigned Charles Foster to take photographs for Veronica Huss’ profile of the “Conchs” of Riviera Beach, Florida. Foster selected thirty of the images, wrote captions for them, and created a traveling photographic exhibit.

1. The Roberts, who migrated to Riviera from the Bahamas in 1915, sit daily under the mango trees in the back yard…

Image Number: PR25416

[left to right: Clarence Sands, Georgie Sands, Wilbur Roberts, Phyllis Smith, William Keye, Mary Jane Roberts, Betty Jean Smith, Bernice Smith]

2. …of this house at the foot of Oak Street. Electricity is available but cannot be paid for…

Image Number: PR25417

[This house belonged to Wilbur Roberts.]

3. ...because old Wilbur Roberts, who owns the house, is blind...

Image Number: PR25418

4. ...and Yankee Dick Smith, his son-in-law, doesn't do well with the party boat in summer.

Image Number: PR25419

5. Mary Jane, Wilbur's wife, is a spry, proud eighty-year old.

Image Number: PR25420

6. Willie Keye can always be found in the shade of the mangos...

Image Number: PR25421

7. ...plaiting the stuff from which his hat is made or laughing with Mary Jane at a visitors remark.

Image Number: PR25422

[Willie Keye, Wilbur Robert's brother-in-law, and Mary Jane Roberts.]

8. The fat, lazy little dog never leaves his master's side and consequently suffers from lack of exercise.

Image Number: PR25423

9. On wash day in Conch Town...

Image Number: PR25424

[left to right: Alice Sands, Teresa Sands, Mary Sands. The house belonged to R.R. Ricou and Sons Fish Company.]

10. Bernice Smith does the family laundry with the help of a neighbor girl, and will soon have need...

Image Number: PR25425

[Bernice Smith, Wilbur Robert's daughter, and Estelle White.]

11. ...of the village Mid-wife [Izzelly Hardin] to add to her present family of two girls and a boy.

Image Number: PR25426

12. The children run more or less wild, unceremoniously discarding clothing to swim in the lake among the rowboats...

Image Number: PR25427

13. ...or walking over deep water on rickety docks.

Image Number: PR25428

14. Evil-tongued little Jean eats mangos, no matter how green, all day long, as do the others.

Image Number: PR25429

15. Johnny wants anything anyone else has.

Image Number: PR25430

16. Sometimes a penny or nickel is obtained to spend in the dimestore on Riviera's main street, U.S. Highway No. 1.

Image Number: PR25431

17. During the season the "Wobblies" come laden from the sea...

Image Number: PR25432

18. ...to their moorings at the fish house...

Image Number: PR25433

19. ...where the men busily prepare fish for market...

Image Number: PR25434

20. ...while old Bill waits patiently for the scraps.

Image Number: PR25435

21. Evenings, boys cast for mullet to be sold as bait to the party boats.

Image Number: PR25436

22. In the summer, nets are hung out to dry…

Image Number: PR25437

23. ...the "Kingfish Boats" hauled out for repairs...

Image Number: PR25438

24. ...and painting.

Image Number: PR25439

25. The boat yards are busy…

Image Number: PR25440

26. "where the party boats and launches are sorted for the summer.

Image Number: PR25441

27. Boys sleep in the fish house on the idle nets

Image Number: PR25442

28. The women make hats and fish-scale flowers...

Image Number: PR25443

29. ...which are stored in the community house...

Image Number: PR25444

30. …to be sold in Palm Beach - seven miles - south - next winter.

Image Number: PR25445

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