Moving to WordPress.org

This site hasn’t been up long, but I’ve started finding limitations in what I can implement in my WordPress.com site. So, I’ve packed it up and moved it all over to a self-hosted site with a WordPress.org installation. Everything should look and function the same as before, but any of my subscribers will need to click through and re-subscribe.

spatialities.com

Watch for new historical and speculative maps!

Portland, 1905

The thing to remember about this early 20th-century Portland map is FORESHADOWING

What stands out for me when I look at this map are the lack of freeways (always the case with maps older than 50 years or so), the lack of suburban sprawl on the Washington side, and the relative lack of outer neighborhoods in Portland. The only Columbia River crossing is a ferry at the approximate location of the current I-5 bridge. where there are now marinas and the airport there were wetlands. Electric railroads linked the local cities and towns (again, often striking to see, especially considering how we are returning to an updated version of this transportation mode).

And remember, with FORESHADOWING, you know you’re getting a quality blogging experience.

As with the others, the high-resolution, restored version of this map is available for purchase…

Los Angeles, 1928

This one’s for all my LA folks…

One of the things about being between jobs is that you get to find little projects to obsess over. I’ve been enjoying combing through old archives, finding these cool old maps, and restoring them (while still  maintaining the vintage patina). This 1928 map of downtown Los Angeles was torn, stamped and stained when I found it.

Los Angeles at this time had one of the most extensive streetcar networks in the world. There were no freeways in LA in 1928. There were very few anywhere–the first proto-autobahn was built in Germany in 1922. If you look at this area now, there are freeways in every direction. Here’s the modern view.

Order full-sized prints, or wrapped canvas maps here…

 

 

 

 

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City of Seattle, 1908


Seattle, 1908

Every once in a while, here at Spatialities world headquarters, our research department (me) runs into an old archived map that our marketing department (also me) thinks would look great on someone’s wall.

I found this 1908 USGS quad while researching the former location of the Lake Washington shoreline. It’s from an important time in Seattle’s history. The the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition was about to happen, which would shape the University of Washington campus for the next century and beyond. Because the Ship Canal had not been built, Lake Washington was eight feet higher.  The Duwamish River still meandered, and South Park and Georgetown were towns in their own right. People were still waiting for the interurban. Rail travel within and between cities was still the best way to get around. Freeways hadn’t been invented.

I did a considerable amount of clean-up to this map–removing old rubber-stamps and imperfections.  It’s now ready for your wall.

You can order hard-copy prints of the files I’ve cleaned up here…

 

 

 

 

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UW Transportation, Past and Future

As part of a recent historical research project, I georeferenced a ton of old plans and maps of the University of Washington campus and surrounding neighborhood. One of the things that has stood out in my mind about this project is the old transportation patterns, and how our society relied so much more heavily on rail to get around.  The University District was served by several streetcar lines in addition to the rail line that was used by passenger trains–now the route of the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Modern Subway, Historical Streetcar

We are slowly returning to an era of mass transportation. This 1920 map shows the location of at least two streetcar lines, as well as the old heavy-gauge NPRR line and depot. I have overlaid the alignment of the Sound Transit North Link subway and platform location of the new University of Washington Station. The detail that jumps out is the location of the old streetcar turn-around loop, now the location of the subway station. We’re looping back around to an abandoned form of transportation that should never have been abandoned. This time, we’re making sure that the passage of the rail cars isn’t hindered by private cars.

I sat on a bus for over half an hour yesterday, getting from the U-District to downtown. I’m looking forward to the eight-minute ride that the subway will enable.

Planning for Safe Routes to School

The McDonald International School re-opened in 2012, after 31 years of being mothballed and leased out to various NGOs. Even though the school is in a very walkable neighbSRTS_CoverPageorhood, having been built in what was originally a streetcar suburb of Seattle, little attention had been paid to the walkability of the immediate school area. The streets around the school need a lot of work to make them safer for all kids, their parents and caretakers.

As a final project for my Sustainable Transportation certificate, I researched and wrote up a plan to create safe routes for the McDonald International School. This plan deals primarily with the physical environment within the school reference area, but also touches on some of the social and cultural aspects of walkable cities. This was my first project dealing with active transportation issues, and led to my involvement with a variety of other bike & pedestrian advocacy organizations, including the Seattle Ped Board and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

McDonald School SRTS Plan