Then and Now: View from Webster St Bridge

It’s a funny thing about “historic” photos. In order for them to ever actually become “historic,” someone in the present has to capture that image!  Don’t forget, what is ordinary and commonplace today almost certainly won’t be in 50 or 100 years…maybe even less than that! So snap that picture!

I’ve recently become very interested in “then and now” photos. (I think this is sort of along the same lines as my fascination with the “before and after” photos of my home improvement projects, but on a longer timeline and grander scale!)

Here’s a good example of a Then-and-Now comparison:

I snapped this photo a few weeks ago, looking at downtown Dayton, Ohio, from the north side of the Mad River, just off the north end of the Webster Street bridge:

Dayton from Webster St, 2010

Dayton from Webster St, 2010

A few weeks later, as I was scanning photographs for the library’s digital collections, I ran across a photo showing the same scene. Only the photo was taken in 1901:

Dayton from Webster St, 1901

Dayton from Webster St, 1901

I am just fascinated by being able to make these kinds of visual comparisons. I think this is the stuff that really makes history come alive for people.

If you are interested in this sort of thing, here are a few links to other tasty nuggets of “visual history” that you might find interesting:

  • CNN Special – Hurricane Katrina: Then and Now. Snapshots from the 2005 hurricane superimposed on current street views.
  • Roma ieri, Roma oggi (Rome yesterday, Rome today). A Flickr site operated by a local photographer in Rome, Italy. He posts historic photos and images, and then he goes out and photographs the same scene today.
  • Paul Hagon’s Flickr & Google Maps Streetview mashup (New York City). Hagon figured out how to take geotagged Flickr images and display them as icons on a Google Map, which, when you click on one of the icons in the map at left, the window at the right shows you the street view for that location. Fantastic! There are also pages for sights in New Zealand, as well as Sydney, Austrlia.

If anyone knows of any other great sites similar to these, I’d be glad to hear about them!

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