Turn of the Century NYC Google Maps

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The Brooklyn Bridge under construction around 1880.

New York is a dynamic city that’s forever transforming. Buildings rise and fall, stores and restaurants come and go and the landscape evolves with new developments in housing and parks. It’s hard to keep up with all the changes and remember what it used to look like. If you enjoy browsing the interactive images from Google Street maps of the present, how would you like it from a 19th century view?

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Developer Dan Vanderkam has partnered with the New York Public Library and their massive photo archives to create just that. You could spend hours zooming in and out on familiar streets and landmark areas just by clicking on the red dot. The vintage photos are linked straight from the NYPL website.

Begin your journey to the past here at OLDNYC

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The Colonial history of Brooklyn

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It’s amazing how much of a pivotal role our city played during the Colonial era. As this new Smithsonian article brings out, “New York City is an afterthought—if it’s part of the conversation at all.” — Yet NYC suffered great losses, and with just a population of 25,000. The most heartbreaking of those being trapped in squalor aboard brutal British Prison ships and other make-shift prisons around the colony.

via The grisly history of Brooklyn’s Revolutionary War martyrs

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Prison Ship Martyrs Association

This is a group dedicated to preserving the memory and history of these tragic events. They even have the names of 8,000 victims.Whether they were captured, fought, or died. Chances are there were many more, but the records are what they are.

Further Reading:

When skulls and bones washed ashore in Brooklyn

The Battle of Brooklyn: A loss that helped win the Revolution

The Battle for Brooklyn, 1776

1900’s Family History

My Maternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother were mentioned in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for an engagement and wedding announcement between the years 1911 and 1912.

I believe it was common in that era to run ads for special announcements like this. Particularly if you had a higher standing in society. Newspapers in the past often posted the address of the people mentioned in their articles. Today that’d be an extremely dangerous thing to do.

If your family has roots in Brooklyn going back between the publication years of 1841 – 1955, use the search engine on the The Brooklyn Newsstand Archive  to type in names and events. You may find your ancestors mentioned. It’s a fun and educational resource provided by the Brooklyn Public Library for history buffs, writers, bloggers, and anyone who wants to know the newsworthy events, lifestyles, and interests of Brooklynites during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century.

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