Most of us who write historical fiction want to get it correct. We research. We all have our specialities and favorites. Most who know my non-fiction know I write haiku, add my photos and publish them fice days a week. I also spend a huge amount of time researching, writing and speaking about the women medical school graduates who practiced medicine in Colorado between 1870 and 1900. In fact I just finished a paper on the titled " How Doc Susie and Hollywood created misconceptions which grew into the myth of women doctors in nineteenth century Colorado" using the Virginia Cornell Book "Doc Susie" and the television show "Dr. Quinn" as examples of how our perception of history can be influenced by the media. The fiction writing me spends time reading old newspapers, and other publications from and about the time periods I write about. There is one source however that crosses all areas I write about. I'm speaking of the USGS, the United States Geological Survey.
This website has photos from the early days of photography/government surveys to the present day. To spend time on the site is heaven. For example: It was founded in 1879. It's annual budget is around 1.1 billion and is part of the US Department of the Interior.
You can follow the infestation of pine beetles over the years and read the results. https://www.usgs.gov/news/landsat-watchman-never-sleeps
I spend a lot of time in the photographic library. You can access the images here: http://library.usgs.gov/photo/#/
Here is one from my home state of Illionis.
Illinoian upland drift plain, four miles south of Mississippi River, nine miles southwest of Milan, Illinois. Slight sag in foreground is the head of a drainage line. Edington Township, T. 16 N., R. 3 W. Rock Island County, Illinois. May 27, 1914.
Here is one of Ute Pass, just west of Colorado Springs, Colorado , taken 1873
Soda Springs, on the Fountain qui Bouille, 3 miles above Colorado City. El Paso County, Colorado. 1870.
So the next time you want to see what an area used to look like, give the USGS a try.
Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted five days a week at – http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com and has now passed one thousand haiku and photos posted on this blog. Check out her other work or like her Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL
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"One Hot Knight" Summer Medieval Anthology
"One Christmas Knight" Medieval Anthology
"Angel of Salvation Valley"
"A COWBOY CELEBRATION"
HOME FOR HIS HEART
Every step you take should be a prayer.
And if every step you take is a prayer then you will always be walking in a sacred manner.
Oglala Lakota Holyman.