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Local Histories & Pictures
Also: Town or Rural Event Archives
This will be major work but lots of fun. We will find stories on many streets and in many of those old buildings.
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Evolution of a City - Year by Year, Mobile Alabama, Part 3: 1899-1916
by First National Bank of Mobile
CONTAINS: Weather, accommodating growth, celebrities, and good ole heart-warming compassion for fellow man. The descriptions of the effects of 2 hurricanes during the period give vivid accounts of effects on property and people. Paved streets are introduced, the fresh water system grows and city government is streamlined. Most important is the descriptions of how Mobilians honor the important people of their past . . . even if they're not of French descent.


Evolution of a City - Year by Year, Mobile Alabama, Part2: 1892-1898
by First National Bank of Mobile
CONTAINS: Pleasant read: Lessons on city development plus heart-warming town stories. The transition from horse-drawn street cars to electric cars and the building of a modern grain elevator highlights city development. Damaging storms and a 3 month town [shutdown] for of Yellow Fever gives town drama. But you’ll find towns of the 1890’s had great people stories . . . In this case the warm, pageant-like welcoming of military and religious leaders and the fun of a rare snowfall.


Evolution of a City - Year by Year, Mobile Alabama, Part1: 1865-1890
by First National Bank of Mobile
CONTAINS: Fun, easy reading snippets but extremely educational in regards to post "War Between the States" economic and social development as well as reactions and emancipation from “Carpetbag” rule. Variety of growing American city topics include harbor and bay improvements, Mardi Gras celebrations, water, Jersey Cows, sewage (into the harbor), the Yellow Fever, and the first Mobile phone. Nicely illustrated.


Riverboats Open the Doors to the West (Missouri), 1672-1860
by Walter Williams and Floyd Shoemaker
CONTAINS: Begins with a short and concise visualization of the construction and usefulness of American river boats: birch bark canoes, bull-boats, flat-bottomed boats, dugout canoes, keelboats and steamboats. The authors then relate the steamboat to the growth of commerce from Missouri towns to New Orleans but emphasize the Mark Twain aura of the steamboat . . . "contributed immensely to the picturesqueness, humour, and poetry of the Mississippi Valley."


San Francisco - Work Projects Administration History: Part 4, Cross Bay Transport and Drinking Water are Engineering Feats
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: From an important sea wall to the Golden Gate bridge, interesting challenges included transportation, water supply, communications and power. Transportation commands the bulk of the article and we learn that bridges and tunnels are relatively recent successes as compared to eastern cities due to the large expanses of water. In the mean time, of course, the local cable cars gave local transportation.


San Francisco - Work Projects Administration History: Part 3, Need Goods - Have to Make Them Locally
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: Local ingenuity was necessary to make the goods for a rapidly growing population and smokestack industries grew with the population. Since the Pacific West was isolated regular consumer goods from clothing to household goods needed to be manufactured locally too. Local food processing turned to canning . . . California became famous for that. Finally the list of modern heavy industries will contrast the modern Bay stereotype.


San Francisco - Work Projects Administration History: Part 2, Evolution of Our Pacific Port
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: Story of an insatiable appetite for maritime transport. Before the transcontinental railroad, all good had to come via sea . . . an interesting progression of vessels are described . . . a great increase in docks is needed. After the railroad came the expanding bay area needed local maritime transport . . . no bridges to Marin County or Oakland. And of course San Francisco became a major port for cross-Pacific shipping.


San Francisco - Work Projects Administration History: Part 1, From Monastic Missions to the Yankee Invasion
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: The early Mexican missions had good intent and local Indians enjoyed the ease of well organized ranch life. Over time the rule of the lands in the Bay area broke down and with that came governments which were self serving and disorganized. Mexico held British and Russian traders in suspicion and United States settlers befriended the authorities due to like interests . . . but in time the weak local Mexican government fell prey to the new settlers who had the help of the United States forces.


The Bold & [Unique] Texas Story, Part 2: Texas Joins the U.S. but Becomes Strong in Its Own Way
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: A state history like no other. A young Texas exits the Civil War its own, growing way. In the late 1800's Texans embrace progressive and even socialist politics . . . Texas legislated an antitrust act and later gave women the vote before the country did and in the 20th century produced exhibitions of women's and social leadership. Perhaps the cause of the [semi-sovernty] of Texas was the fact that it was a sovereign country for 10 years prior to statehood or perhaps . . . You be the judge.


The Bold & [Unique] Texas Story, Part 1: Brutal Foundations
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: Growth of civilization in Texas was stagnant under Spanish rule . . . only 3000 people by 1820. But U.S. and other adventurers from other countries started to arrive . . . we read descriptions of their crude life. In 1832 Texas formed a local independent government. Mexico began brutal (to the death) military actions, winning many but by 1836, thanks to many volunteers, The Texans won the decisive action.


Our "First State," Delaware, Part 2: Colony & Statehood, 1700 - 1938
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: Becoming a "Colony" meant formation of a government. With this micro look into the Colony which would become the State of Delaware, we learn the acceptance of new laws, expansion and types commerce/finance, and most important, how the people dealt with each other's differing opinions on government type leading into the independence of the States from Britain. Moving into the 19th century, you may be surprised that Delaware had some slaves and was anti-Lincoln.


Our "First State," Delaware, Part 1: The Difficulty of Settlement, 1609 - 1700
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: Even though you'd never who know next year's host country would be . . . the Dutch, Swedes or English, you knew that [non-violent] conflicts would change the ownership. But you also knew that whoever was you host, doctrines of freedom for you would prevail. The story shows the development of differing settlements and the interesting varied sentiments of the settlers. Finally, as the British took ownership, we find an aversion to the formation of pre-defined government.


A Very Rich and Varied State History: Ohio, 1700 - 1940
by Work Projects Administration
CONTAINS: Pleasant and easy reading history. The writers explain the early settlements and French/English conflict in an entertaining fashion then take you through the [free spirit] and boom years of early statehood. The Civil War period contains very interesting surprises, after which industry changes to match changing transportation. The rise of the city is well expressed in human, industrial, political and artistic terms.


Farm Machinery Allows Our Settlement of the Open Plains of Kansas and the Dakotas. 1850-1880
by Everett Dick, Ph. D., Union College, Lincoln Nebraska
CONTAINS: Great way to get a feel for work life on the Plains between 1850 and 1880. While the author spends some text describing the simple inventions which reduced farm work load, the article's depth is in its descriptions of people's lives in individual and social farm tasks as well as the possible bad consequences of machine purchasing and the economics of scale. Article ends with a discussion of machines and the farm woman.


Advances in Education, Alabama, 1799 to 1941
by Alabama State Planning Commission
CONTAINS: Smooth, important read gives a great feel in the advance, and after the Civil War, the re-advance in education. Written by the State of Alabama, they admit their problems in an atmosphere of financial constraints. Also interesting is the historical perspectives of friction from landowners and the changes and challenges of negro pupas in the system (the system was still segregated at the time of writing).


Our 4th Largest City, St. Louis, from Frontier Settlement, to Civil War, to Modern Showpiece, 1904
by Walter Williams
CONTAINS: A snapshot of a 1904 middle-American City. Very enjoyable presentation due to promotional writing style. Unusual way to learn about St. Louis' founding, immigration/growth, Civil War sentiments, hub to the West, service/pleasure institutions, ethnic/religious diversity and disciplined monetary growth. You'll see the growth of middle-America placed on a backdrop of steam & rail transportation plus expanding industry & agriculture.


We Still Seek New Beginnings in the 1890’s, Creation and Growth of Fairview Oklahoma
by Various Local Authors
CONTAINS: You can easily feel part of a growing community from the "Oklahoma Land Rush" of 1893 to its quick growth with stores, shops and a hotel. Located in Northwest Oklahoma, "Abundant crops in 1897, 1898, 1899, created a tide of home-seekers from every part of the nation to head for Oklahoma territory."


Life in the Big City 1890s Chicago,. Part 2: Small Shops, Middle Class, Strange Vehicles and Coachmen.
CONTAINS: Stories written in the 1890s will place you in Chicago as an observer or if you are imaginative, as a worker. Fun, easy reading.


Life in the Big City, 1890s Chicago. Part 1: Voting, the Canal, Junk Shops and Sidewalk Merchants
CONTAINS: Old style writing giving reflections and visualizations of city politics and street business. A true education about city life.


Our 1850’s Indiana Life, Conversion from Pioneer to Social Neighbor
by Logan Esarey, Professor, Indiana University
CONTAINS: Unusually insightful descriptions of our life as an 1850’s Hoosier. The author organizes the article by topics such as home life, the churches, wealth, dress, society, morals, social gatherings, and mental traits.


Colorado’s Early Adventurers, the Fur Trappers, 1810-40
by Leroy Hafen
CONTAINS: Interesting insights into the motives of the early adventurers before the discovery of gold initiated the “59’ers” migration to Colorado. Fur trapping for profit was accompanied by rough adventure. Many lived with and married American Indians.


We Tried to Have You Farm the West … the Failed Homestead Act, 1862
by John Hawgood
CONTAINS: It is difficult to legislate dreams. The dream sounded good … let America’s poor [instead of speculators] move to, and farm the Plains States like Kansas. It couldn’t work as planned.


Hot Dogs, Football, Baseball and Automobiles. Detroit 1900-1910
by Norman Beasley & George W. Stark
CONTAINS: Detroit’s transformation from horses. Author whimsically mixes peoples’ working lives, recreation and business dealings to give us a feeling for the up-and-coming “Motor City.” Pleasure reading mixed with history.


You Will Never Forget Your Trip on the Oregon Trail, 1843
by Dan Clark
CONTAINS: You will have a great feel for the purpose, planning, work, hardship, entertainment and joys of the 9 month, 2000 mile trip from Missouri to the Oregon Territory, your family in hand.


Head East from Little Rock, Arkansas and “You are Going South”, 1947
by Marguerite Lyon
CONTAINS: Real-people stories. A lady travels Arkansas in her car, by herself, to dig up stories and get a general feel for life in 1947 Arkansas.


Your Life as a Texas Cowboy ... Romance or Just Hard Work. 1865-1885
by John Hawgood
CONTAINS: A very entertaining article for all. Vivid descriptions of the lifestyle plus first hand descriptions of the cowboy life and the cowboy mentality.


The Rise and Fall of Rowleys Bay, Northeast Door County Wisconsin, 1800s
by Hjalmar Holand
CONTAINS: Entertaining: Our author/story-teller from 1934 gives us the scoop on the batty first explorers, early industry then failed real estate development attempts.


We Get Drawn Into the Florida Land Boom … Then Bust, 1920s
by Fredrick Lewis Allen
CONTAINS: We won’t make this mistake again! Hoping for increasing real estate values and given ridiculously easy financing, banks as well as buyers go bust.


You’ll Find Gold & Silver in Nevada, 1860’s & 70’s … But Hang on to Your Wife.
by John Hawgood
CONTAINS: Great stories of the people involved with the 1870’s Nevada Mines around Virginia City. You will want to go there, have a beer and think.


Small Town Entertainment and Belongingness 1900–1976. A Look at Sidney, Illinois
by Virginia McElroy
CONTAINS: Our lives were enhanced by both, home-grown and [imported] entertainment … and there seemed to be ten organizations for every townie.


Your 1860 Trip to Colorado and Your Resulting Lifestyle
by Leroy Hafen
CONTAINS: It was much tougher then settling the Midwest. A very ‘visual writing’ style will make you part of pioneer life in Colorado.


The Gold Rush Is On … Personal Accounts of the California Gold Rush
by John Hawgood
CONTAINS: Delightful reading of personal accounts in 1840’s-speak. The accounts give us the human aspect of the Gold Rush.


Small Town Businesses Had to be Good … Early Days of DeLand Illinois
by Myrta Grace Paugh
CONTAINS: You couldn’t do spur of the moment, big town shopping. “It took a couple of hours or more to go to Monticello by horse and buggy and the day was shot.”


Challenges of the Early Settlers of Jasper County, East-Central Illinois
by Martha Robins
CONTAINS: Great Article by a local 1938 historian. Shelter, clothing, food, transportation and farming were crude. Lumbering was big.


Indiana Pioneers Live with the Miami Indians, 1832
by Donald M. Ream
CONTAINS: Enjoyably written family account of dealing with life and other people in 1830’s Indiana.


The Creation of Missouri … a Melodramatic 1932 Version
author not stated
CONTAINS: So melodramatic you’d think that Frank Capra wrote it. A fun way to learn early Missouri History … great pictures too!


After the Civil War a Small Town Grows People and Businesses … Sidney Illinois
by Virginia McElroy
CONTAINS: An [often humorous] primer on the style of growth in many small towns. Local businesses served local needs. Prices of are often given.


Not Easy to Get a Railroad … Newton Illinois, 1870
by Martha Robins
CONTAINS: A realistic look at the finance and construction difficulties of a small town’s first rail service.


A Railroad Passing Switch Results in a Town? … Arthur Illinois, 1872
author not stated
CONTAINS: Transportation is the key. A passing track and an access road started the town.


Detroit 1910 … the Auto Industry, Whiskey Row and Interesting People Produce a Special Flavor
by Norman Beasley
CONTAINS: Using the auto industry as a backdrop, the author creates delightful descriptions of 1910 Detroit by giving stories of many local characters. Really fun reading!


The Early Days of Washington Island Wisconsin … at the Tip of the Door Peninsula.
by Hjalmar Holand
CONTAINS: This 1934 article discusses Indian settlements, rich fishing and early farming. You will feel the life of the early settlers.


The Pioneer Settlement Life Around Sidney Illinois
by Virginia McElroy
CONTAINS: Midwest life before railroads gave convenient transportation to towns. Recollections are from both, personal and social angles. We survived and we also had fun.


"Good Ol’ Summer Time in Camargo, Illinois" - Finding History in My Own Back Yard
by Jackie Wells Jamison
CONTAINS: Early 1900's Rural Recreational Gatherings.


1860’s, Amish Come to Central Illinois for Fertile Soil
author not stated


Sidney Illinois, World War I Hardship to early 1920’s Prosperity
by Virginia McElroy
CONTAINS: Effects of war, KKK tries to recruit, 1920’s prosperity and paved roads enable auto travel.


Camargo Illinois 175th Anniversary Celebration with Village Park Rededication as Opal Thompson Park
by Stu Moment


The “Quad Cities” of Sidney, Illinois Township: Johnstown, Deers, Block and Rutherford.
by Kevin Erb


Sidney Fun Daze (Days) 2011
by Stu Moment


Sidney Gets a New Railroad in 1904
by Kevin Erb


Before it was the Sidney Saloon
by Forrest Stipps Narrating to Stu Moment