A PUBLICATION OF ACADEMIC COMPUTING ADVISORY COMMITTEE,
BANANA TIME IS PUBLISHED EVERY THURSDAY, FALL & SPRING.
SEND SUBMISSIONS FOR BANANA TIME TO WIGLEY@CANISIUS.EDU.
NAME: Erie County Public Works, Division of Highways: Aerial Photographs
DESCRIPTION: Web resource
PURPOSE: Historical research. Local history education. Unproductive gawking.
BANANA RATING: Four Bananas out of Five Bananas.
RATED BY: Mark Gallimore, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Canisius College
Local history geek? Or is your spare time (procrastinating) spent exploring on Google Maps or Earth? This is for you. The Erie County Public Works, Division of Highways has digitized two sets of aerial survey photographs of the county (and some surrounding regions) from the 1920s and 1951.
The site provides a brief description of the images, and how you see them on screen, as well as some interesting (though brief) historical background to the 1920s set. I have successfully viewed the Erie County sets on Firefox and Chrome for a Windows 7 PC, and Safari on the iPad.
By comparing these photos with Google Maps or Earth, you can really get a feel for how industrial Buffalo was different from post-industrial Buffalo. Also interesting is what pre-expressway Buffalo looked like. If you live in the outer suburbs, and look for your house lot, there’s a good chance that in the 1920s it is still a cornfield. But on the fringes of settlement you can occasionally see streets and lots laid out in the process of suburbanization. The 1920 census, to many Americans’ collective horror, indicated that more Americans now lived in town than in the rural countryside. (Citified America!? Flappers! Bohemians! Jazz! Hard-top automobiles! Crossword puzzles! The end of morality! We’re doomed!)
The image quality and scope isn’t the best in this particular niche of the internet. Pennsylvania’s PennPilot project, which includes images from across the Keystone State, offers higher resolution scans, and more collections at different years, although PennPilot’s earliest collection dates from the late 1930s. Nevertheless, Erie County’s collection are well worth seeing if you have any interest in local history.
BANANA TIME is the namesake of an article by the late Donald F. Roy. Roy said (p. 166) that his “…observations seem to support the generally accepted notion that one key source of job satisfaction lies in the informal interaction shared by members of a work group.” Roy, D. F. (1959). “Banana Time” Job satisfaction and informal interaction, Human Organization, 18, 158-168. A free downloadable pdf of the article appears at