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Randle Highlands VS Fort Dupont [Antique Overlay of an Anacostia Alternative Future]
|| 10/29/2009 || 4:07 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Screen grab from Google Earth showing the location of Randle Highlands

Image links to the KMZ file for Google Earth

The other day I was canvassing the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper collection and came across this advertisement that was published on May 27th, 1910 in the Washington Times. It shows development plans for Randle Highlands, a neighborhood in Southeast, Washington, DC. I was curious about the results of the newspaper ad. As in, how much has the map changed in the last 99 years? Surprisingly, not too much. Most of the land was developed to plan, except for one large chunk of the land that remains “undeveloped” to this day: Fort Dupont Park.

The National Park Service website says:

This particular fort had six sides, each 100 feet long, protected by a deep moat and trees felled side-by-side with branches pointing outward. It was named for Flag Officer Samuel F. du Pont, who commanded the naval victory at Port Royal, South Carolina, in November 1861.

Although its garrison and guns never saw battle, Fort Dupont served as a lifeline of freedom. Runaway slaves found safety here before moving on to join the growing community of “contrabands” in Washington. The barracks and guns are gone, but the fort’s earthworks can still be traced near the picnic area on Alabama Avenue.

In the 1930s, the National Capital Planning Commission acquired the old fort and surrounding land for recreation. An 18-hole golf course was constructed. As the city grew, golf gave way in 1970 to the sports complex along Ely Place that now includes tennis and basketball courts, athletic fields, and a softball diamond. An indoor ice rink offers skating all winter. Where once the Civil War fort looked out over farmlands, city dwellers now grow vegetables in community garden plots.

This advertisement was printed 20 years before the National Capital Planning Commission changed the future of this neighborhood. I wonder what it would be like today if it wasn’t a park? Umm, I mean golf course. I was able to line up the old map with the contemporary imagery and by adjusting the transparency in Google Earth you can see how much has been developed. Click here to download the KMZ file for Google Earth


Screen grab from Google Earth showing the location of present day Fort Dupont Park

Image links to Google Maps


Transcription below:

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A Navy Yard Perspective
|| 5/30/2009 || 1:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
A Navy Yard Perspective by Nikolas R. Schiller

While on blogging hiatus, I made this map on May 12th, but didn’t post it. I don’t really have any rationale for not posting it except that I wanted to take a month off from blogging to see where my daily visitor threshold was; as in finding how many people visited my website without daily blogging. So in order to ascertain the data, I purposely withheld this entry.

Following up last year’s Artomatic maps, which also featured the area prior to development, I decided to try something a little different. When making this map I spent a lot of time working with the field of view parameters to create the depth of perspective. In the foreground (the lower half) you have a somewhat close-up view of the area around the Navy Yard Metro station in Southeast, Washington, DC and in the upper half you have a larger field of view that appears to stretch out to infinite. The aerial photography was taken in the spring of 2005 before the stadium and subsequent nearby development had been completed. Even if you look at the current Google Maps of the area, the construction of this year’s Artomatic venue had not even began.


View the Google Map of the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, which features newer imagery

: detail of the Navy Yard Metro prior to construction :

View the rest of the map details:

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Oil Wells in Los Angeles 103 years ago [One Slick Overlay]
|| 1/6/2008 || 2:09 pm || Comments Off on Oil Wells in Los Angeles 103 years ago [One Slick Overlay] || ||

Links to 2.5mb KMZ file for Google Earth
Were the fingerprints dipped in oil too?

The other day I was hunting for maps of Baltimore and stumbled on to the map above (published in Baltimore). It was last prominently featured in the Library of Congress’ “Los Angeles Mapped” on-line exhibition. The map shows downtown Los Angeles with little black dots showing the locations of all the oil wells that existed in 1905.

I wonder how many of the old oil derricks still exist today? I also wonder if people living where the oil wells were constructed own the mineral rights for their property? A few years back I remember looking into purchasing cheap land in Wyoming and one of the stipulations on the land was that the owner would not own the mineral rights below the surface of the earth. Does this exist in present day Los Angeles? Could someone living in Los Angeles today dig a little deeper and find a new source of oil in their backyard?

For more information about this antique map, visit the Library of Congress website. Below is a secondary screen grab showing the area around Dodgers Stadium. It should be noted that the overlay does line up 100% on Google Earth, but close enough to show a change in the built environment.

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Within Sight of the White House [Overlay of Hooker’s Division]
|| 12/9/2007 || 2:30 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

[image links to .kmz file]
Google Earth Screen Shot of the Antique Overlay

One of the maps I recently downloaded was from a newspaper clipping showing the area near the White House. With 50 Saloons and 109 Bawdy-Houses the map was drawn to highlight business owners who were paying Federal taxes but not DC taxes. Of importance is how nearly all but four of the business owners were female. Were they not paying taxes because they were disenfranchised? Women’s suffrage didn’t come for another 30 years with the passage of the 19th Amendment. By taking the map and importing it into Google Earth, I was able to arrange it so that the buildings line up with minimal distortion. It’s not a perfect map, but it is truly an interesting glimpse into downtown Washington, DC in the 1890’s.

Today most of the buildings are all gone. There are some exceptions, like City Hall (Central Powerhouse) and the Old Post Office, which is written as the “New Post Office” on the map. In the place of the 109 Bawdy-Houses and 50 Saloons was the creation of Federal Triangle. Ohio Ave- gone, DC’s entertainment center, gone as well. Later built, on the year of my birth, was Freedom Plaza which was designed to look like L’Enfant’s map no less. By adjusting the antique map’s transparency you can see a approximately 117 years of development. From brothel to federal, what a strange entity time is.

Transcription:

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The Daily Render By
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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!