Where Are We Going?

For most of the 19th century, the concept of human flight was mainly an academic discussion; and automobiles were yet to become common place. If you wanted to go anywhere, you typically walked, saddled up your horse, or hopped on a train. Or, as for most of the 30-million (give or take) European immigrants that came to the United States during the 1800’s, you took a boat.

 

[cue theme music from “An American Tail”]

 

That’s what my great grandfather did. He boarded the S.S. Scandinavian on 09 June 1893 and landed in Boston on 19 June 1893. How do I know this?…I found it on the internet.

We are fortunate to be living in the information age (I’ll refrain from listing my caveats on that statement). There is a plethora of information at our fingertips…on all sorts of subjects, from family history to construction history. And sometimes it can be of immense help.

When working on rehabilitation projects, it can be extremely interesting to look at construction site photographs that were taken one-hundred years ago.

Old photos, drawings, and design specifications can give you an insight into the (now) invisible portions of a structure, tell you what a structure’s original intended use was, let you know what kind of work has been done on a structure over the years, and sometimes they’re just really cool to look at.The City of Philadelphia has done a real good job preserving some of the area historical photographs from all around the city.

And there are a number of technical-minded folk out there who are preserving out-of-print and out-of-copyright publications that they’ve come across over the years.

So my recommendation to everyone is to periodically stop worrying about what’s ahead of you and wander around a library, grab a cup of coffee and chat with one of your elders, or just stumble around the internet…all the kids are doing it now.

And where are we going?…to answer that question, I will take a line from Roddy Doyle:

“That’s a tricky question, Terry. But as I always say: We skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels across the floor. I was feeling kind of seasick, but the crowd called out for more.”

“That’s very profound, Jimmy. What does it mean?”

“Terry, I haven’t a clue.”


PhillyHistory.org http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/
The Slide Rule Era http://www.slideruleera.net/
Google Books Library Project http://books.google.com/googlebooks/library.html
SewerHistory.org http://www.sewerhistory.org/
Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com/
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~ by castle2268 on September 24, 2010.

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