Sunday, January 5, 2014
Old North Minneapolis and Historypin
In the fall of 2013, a new Facebook group started up called "Old North Minneapolis." Its administrators tend to focus most of the content on items north of Lowry Avenue, since that's their part of the community. But the page contains a wealth of photos from across the northside. Over Christmas break, I downloaded ninety-five photos from the page, and there have been perhaps two dozen more added since then.
My goal is to get every picture that's posted on that page--and eventually the Camden Community Historical Society FB group as well, although there's some overlap of pictures--posted on Historypin.
For the uninitiated, Historypin is a website and smartphone app that allows old pictures to be layered on Google street view. Once the picture is "pinned," then anyone with the Historypin smartphone app can stand in front of the physical location of the photo and see, through the camera view of their phone, what was there years ago superimposed over what is there today. Long-term, I would love to see this app used to coordinate historic walking tours throughout north Minneapolis. But in order to do that, photos need to be pinned on the site.
And in order to pin a photo, I need three things: a physical street address where the picture was taken (sometimes problematic if the actual address no longer exists; when a bunch of properties have been torn down and been combined in to one parcel, for instance, then photos can be jumbled together), a year when the photo was taken (and since that's not always clear from the picture or someone's personal knowledge, it's often guesswork based on cars and clothing), and the man-hours needed to layer the photo on the site. The last item is the most important. It can take 5-10 minutes to do one picture, which is not too burdensome unless you've got a few hundred pictures to wade through.
But if a few members of these pages made a habit of pinning a photo when the post to Facebook, then we could make our communal history far more accessible.