Pinning Down the Visuals of History

Queens Hotel

The above image is a screenshot of a photo I recently pinned on the website HistoryPin.  For those of you who don’t know, HistoryPin allows you to take a historic photo and place it on a current landscape using Google Street View.  In order to properly do so you just need to know the date of the photograph and the exact location it was taken.  I chose the Queens Hotel on the corner of Broadway Street and Brock Street in Tillsonburg, Ontario.  The photo was taken in the 1870s and posted online by Annandale National Historic Site.  Using the street view of Broadway Street today, I was able to position the approximate location of the Queen’s Ave Hotel and where it would be if it was still standing today.  I ran into some great stuff as well as some road blocks.

First the great stuff.  I thought this website was super cool.  I enjoyed the scavenger hunt of tracking down the location that a photograph was taken in.  Also, I really enjoyed sifting through the thousands upon thousands of other photos that have been pinned by people across the world.  There’s an option to look at HistoryPin tours that look at a certain theme and allows people to pin photos belonging under a single topic.  For and example, one of the tours looked at the Olympics.  Lots of people pinned photos of their own Olympic experiences and well…you can imagine spending hours looking through them all.

The road blocks.  You might notice that the placement of my photo is a little awkward.  It’s very hard to know what angle a photo was taken at with regards to the changes in modern landscapes.  For this reason, I know that my photo is in the right location but I’m not too sure about the exact angle and positioning of the photo.  In the coming weeks I would like to take a look at photos taken a little more recently that show enough change in landscape to be interesting but enough the same enough to make positioning the photo easier.  I thought I might do this with some of my parents’ photos from when they were younger or even some shots of them at their high school!  The possibilities are exciting.

Overall, I would highly recommend using HistoryPin!  I could seeing it being used on a website or project- especially with the Tour feature.  Furthermore, the website can be used in free time just for fun.  It’s highly entertaining and the hunt for a great tour is a lot of fun.

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