Established as part of the New Deal, the Home Owners' Loan Corporation offered mortgage loans to expand home buying. In the process it made a detailed grading of neighborhoods into categories A (green) to D (red), with important long-term consequences on racial discrimination.

I am interested in the description of the C (yellow) category:

The Third grade or C areas are characterized by age, obsolescence, [...]. "Jerry" built areas are included as well as neighborhoods lacking homogeneity.

Source: the 1937 map for Hartford, CT, but similar descriptions can be found elsewhere.

My questions are: what is/was a "Jerry" built area? Were they a direct consequence of the Great Depression? And why would they automatically get graded C?

  • 5
    OED has: "Badly or hastily built with materials of poor quality". Origin: "Mid 19th century: origin unknown; sometimes said to be from the name of a firm of builders in Liverpool, or to allude to the walls of Jericho, which fell down at the sound of Joshua’s trumpets (Josh. 6:20)". Personally, I think I'd go with the "origin unknown" bit, and take the rest with a large spoonful of salt. – sempaiscuba Oct 1 '20 at 21:02
  • Thank you, I didn't realize this was a common expression (and it didn't come up in a generic search). This is an off-topic question, feel free to close or downvote! – Alexlok Oct 2 '20 at 15:41
  • you might be more familiar with usage in the term "jerry rigged" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. – John Oct 4 '20 at 21:32

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