This image succeeds as more than a document - it is a portrait of a town. A grocery store anchors the street corner like a surrogate town square. The noisy words of the advertisements, in contrast with the empty ladder, the propped-open screen door, and the quiet of the streets, give a mysterious quality to the image.
Evans once aspired to be a writer, so it is no coincidence that many of his photographs feature the words of local signs. Evans probably took this photograph on assignment for the Resettlement Administration, a government-sponsored project that sent photographers into rural communities during the Great Depression to document conditions there. Evans's photograph records the daily life of the place without showing its occupants.