There is nothing like soaring over an area to get that ‘bird’s eye view’. That experience is very possible in an airplane, hot air balloon or glider. However, to have that aerial view of a hometown, city or area say in 1920 or 1900 or 1890 is impossible. The Library of Congress Panoramic Photographic Collection does offer that experience in images taken decades ago.
There are some 4,000 images in panoramic format, not just of towns and cities, but also of farm lands, waterways, industries, battlefields, general landscapes and others. Every state is represented and some locations overseas, dating from 1851 to 1991.
To find a location, there is a search box at the top. For example the city of Chicago, Illinois has 71 panoramic view, ranging from steel mills in 1907, to the McCormick Plant, to the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition, to a wonderful panoramic view of Wrigley Field in 1929 with the fans in attendance.
Going through the listing will be a brief description and a thumbnail image. Click on your selection for additional information. Then click on the link titled ‘view larger’ to have the full panoramic image. Remember you will need to scroll left to right to view it all since it is very long.
Dallas, Texas had 25 images ranging from the city skyline at different years, to the 1918 military officers at Love Field, and some neighboring communities or institutions. Besides the larger locations there are smaller places like Winter Haven and Haines City in Florida or Middletown and Frederick, Maryland.
The photos are not just of places, but many focus on people. Parades are one of the major topics in the photos, covering every event. Also school faculties and student bodies for many institutions are in the collection as well as the occupational groups like police, ranchers, merchants and military.
These images can be saved to your computer, so what interesting one you can find that fits with your family history. I have some images from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933 where a relative had an exhibit.
Photo: The Bathing Suit Parade held at Miami Beach, FL in December 1920 (just a small portion of the panoramic).< Return To Blog