Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trolley Car to Natatorium Park

Another magnificent image from my collector friend, Darin Krogh. Natatorium Park was Spokane's preemier trolley park and operated from 1889 to 1967. Trollery parks were a commmon American attraction in late-19th and early-20th century America. Trolley car companies would create amuseument parks on cheap land at the outskirts of town. Admission was often free--but you had to ride the trolley to get there. Clever those trolley owners.

More to come.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peaceful Valley, 1925

Encampment at the National Indian Congress, Glover Stadium, Spokane, Washington, 1925
As I work with my students on developing mobile history tours for Spokane Historical (which is only weeks away!) I have been discovering some great historic images. So I thought I'd start an occasional series of posts highlighting some of them.

This spectacular image is a Charles Libby photograph of a 1925 Indian camp in Spokane's Peaceful Valley. The scan was provided to me by a local collector who owns an original print. The University of Washington also has a copy. The National Indian Congress was meeting in Spokane and the sports field was made available to them. The even was widely publicized and photographed--see here and here as well.

Up next time--some historic postcards, and a love story.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mullan Road Conference, 2012

The Mullan Road is one of the under-studied  topics in Pacific Northwest History. Built by Lieutenant John Mullan of the U.S. Army in 1859 and 1860, the Mullan Road was the first wagon road over the northern Rockies. Linking together the height of steam navigation on the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, it completed the route of commerce across the continent that Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to discover almost half-a-century before.

The portion of the road over the Rockies did not last long. Parts of it was destroyed by floods the year it was completed, and despite repair attempts the road was closed by 1861. Yet other sections of the road remained in use for decades, and the modern Interstate 90 follows the same route through the mountains today.

In recent years interest in the Mullan Road has grown, including an annual conference. The 2012 Mullan Road Conference, will take place April 13-15, at Walla Walla, Washington. This year's conference is organized by the Mullan Road Project Staff at Eastern Washington University(which I can tell you is mostly Bill Youngs and his students!)and the Walla Walla Mullan Road Sesquicentennial Committee.

I will be giving a presentation "Creating Historical Tours for Smartphones" on Saturday at 10 am. According to the schedule "Cebula ... will present his experiences in developing "Spokane Historical" a multi-media smartphone app for Spokane History, and he will suggest ways that this technology could be applied to touring sites along the Mullan Road." I guess I had better write that presentation! I hope to see some of you there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NHPRC Action Alert

I just received the following alert via email and thought I should pass it along. The National Historical Records and Publications Commission is a vital federal agency that funds the identification, description and above all the preservation of historic documents in the United States. The agency has absorbed deep cuts in recent years, and President Obama's proposed 2013 budget cuts then another 40%! Please take a moment to contact some of the people listed below, and defend American history. The Society of American Archivists has more information here.

Action Alert:

Stop the Impending Fiscal Disaster for Historical Records in the United States!
Tell the House Appropriations Subcommittee to Fund NHPRC at $5 million!

In a year in which natural disasters have rocked many parts of the United States, a fiscal disaster is brewing in Washington, D.C., for archives, manuscripts, and records organizations nationwide and for historical editing projects. The President’s FY13 appropriations budget proposes just $3 million in funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission grants program – a $2 million (40%) reduction from the current $5 million appropriation. This is the third year of substantial reductions for a program that is authorized at a very modest $10 million.

While most other federal agencies have been weathering hits of around 9% annually, NHPRC’s cuts have been much heftier. The result is a severe crippling of NHPRC’s ability to carry out its legal mandate – which in turn seriously impedes the capacity of states and organizations nationwide to care for our nation’s heritage and make it available for use by our citizens.

What can you do to help avert this crisis?

Submit testimony in support of restoring NHPRC funding to $ 5million. The House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee (of the House Appropriations Committee) will hold a hearing on the NARA budget on March 20, 2012. The Subcommittee will accept testimony submitted for the record, but it must be submitted by COB on Thursday, March 15, 2012, to go into the record prior to the hearing. We encourage archives, libraries, and other historical organizations to submit testimony on behalf of their organization and users. Send testimony that speaks directly to the positive benefits of NHPRC funding for your state or organization. Specific instructions on testimony are at the end of this action alert.

Email your written testimony to:

House Appropriations Committee, Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee

Fax or email the chair of the Subcommittee to express your support for restoration of NHPRC funding (at $5 million) as part of the National Archives budget. If your representative is a member of the Subcommittee, fax, email, or call him/her and ask for support of funding restoration for NHPRC. In your letter or call, speak to the specific benefits of NHPRC for your state/organization/users. The more your Congressperson understands that his/her constituents are affected directly, the more convincing your message will be.

JoAnn Emerson (Chair, MO)
Rodney Alexander (LA)
Jo Bonner (AL)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL)
Tom Graves (GA)
Kevin Yoder (KS)
Steve Womak (AR)

Jose Serrano (NY, Ranking Minority)
Barbara Lee (CA)
Peter Visclosky (IN)
Ed Pastor (AZ)

Guidelines for written testimony:
  • Do not exceed 5 pages, double-spaced, single-sided, 12 point font, at least one inch margins
  • State in the first paragraph the agency, program, amount of money involved in the request (i.e. National Archives, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, $5 million)
  • Name title, institutional affiliation at the top of the page
  • Submit as a single pdf document
  • Email to:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Ads that Could Have Won George McClellan the Presidency created these very funny imaginary negative ads, supposedly from George McClellan when he ran against the president in 1864. Enjoy.