The fascinating Hobo Code Graffiti is everywhere you look in Hartford
Recently I took a day trip to Hartford, Connecticut and saw the same symbols spray painted on buildings all over town.
When I say they’re all over Hartford, I mean every utility pole, every building, every stop sign, at least within the 20 blocks I’ve seen. But, seriously, those 20 blocks were awesome. It was here…
You see, I could have taken dozens of pictures but it would get old for both of us. When I saw them, I recognized them immediately, but from where? It hit me like cold spray paint in my eyelid, it’s something called the hobo code.
I only know this because I did an article on similar graffiti last year, “Connecticut residents are trying to make sense of a symbol often found throughout the state.”
I even drew my own hobo code for the desktop to see if anyone knew what it was.
No one knew what it was, but I had a great time making things up for a few days.
So, you might be asking, what is the “hobo code?” It’s a way for vagrants, vagrants or “tramps” to leave coded messages, sharing information about a neighborhood. If you were walking around a new town, wondering what you were going to do, these messages might give you an idea if you would be safe, where you could get food, or where law enforcement might be.
If you look at the code above and use the helpful tables below, we can get a reasonable idea of the message being conveyed here.
The upside down triangle means either “tramps here” or a road ruined by other vagrants, while the circle means “nothing to gain here”. I can’t figure out what three straight horizontal lines mean, but three diagonal lines mean the area is dangerous, so it may have to do with how safe you can expect in a given area. The two vertical lines with the dot in the middle are also an elusive truth. We can understand from the codes we have, that the artist thinks this part of the city sucks.
Honestly, I’m not sure if the hobo code is still legitimately used today, but the brands in Hartford suggest it’s a possibility. However, the last time I asked about these symbols appearing all over the state of Nutmeg, there were a lot of comments from people who thought they were from a graffiti artist with knowledge of the hobo code. Maybe the artist is using dated language to make a social statement?
Either way, that’s pretty cool for me. I mean, I don’t think damaging city property is cool because law-abiding taxpayers will end up having to pay to get it fixed. I just think coded messages are cool. If we can assume that most people don’t understand these symbols, you can use them to annoy your friends, coworkers, and maybe even your boss.
It’s time for an open book quiz, use the tables above to crack the code below.
Do you think the “hobo code” is offensive? Sorry, I couldn’t find the name, that’s what it’s called.
Top Theories About DB Cooper And 30 Other Unsolved Mysteries
Thanks to America’s fascination with the confusion of unsolved cases, the mystery is among the most popular genres of books, films, and television. From burglaries and burglaries to murders and robberies, the world’s biggest unsolved mysteries are igniting a media frenzy that is making headlines around the world. Some cases spark so much public intrigue that the facts and theories around them become the basis for books, films, plays and documentaries decades, if not centuries, after the cases have died down.