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Kickstarter

I am going to look into some fundraising opportunities through Kickstarter. It’s a grassroots opportunity to get support from people who believe in your project. I believe we will use it for printing costs, possibly usage costs, and other activities. As we approach the end of the photographic phase, it’s time to look into bringing the project to the attention of the public. More details to come.

Solution to the zigzag structure

After consulting with three engineers, I can now safely assume that the zigzag structure on or behind Windsor Dairy in the 1937 photograph is a cooling unit of some kind. The 1929 Sanborn map for that part of Blake Street noted that there was an ice cream manufacturing unit in that part of the building and the word “condenser” is seen on the map as well for that site. Someone recently sold an image of the Windsor Dairy, c. 1947, on eBay. I missed the sale by a few days.

Sam and I are still conducting research at Denver Public Library, Western History Department. Librarian Bruce Hanson has provided us with incredible amounts of information, which we’re still sifting through. Yesterday, I photocopied the pages of the 1937 Denver city directory that pertain to each of the streets we’re working on. Now we know the names and addresses of all the businesses located on the streets, which will be extremely helpful in identification. I’m also entering a lot of that data into the spreadsheet that describes the project.

Sam and I dropped in to the new Historical Society/History Colorado library, and met one of the librarians there. I explained the project–its scope and progress–and received information about their use policies and how to obtain images of the old negatives. At this point, I’m not sure if we want scans of only some or all of the old images. For sure, Windsor Dairy will be one of them!!

On another front, I’ve decided to create a small personalized book of my railroad yard photographs, to be published by blurb.com. My photography teacher from Metro, Barbara Houghton, created a beautiful book using blurb, and I am inspired to do one of my own. The book will be entitled “Love Letter to the Railroad Yards,” and will feature 23 images plus text. This is riffing on my “love letter to Denver” idea; that’s how I think of the Rephotographic Project. More on that when things move along.

I’m not sure I’ll be posting many more photographs on this blog site. Apparently Google bought blogspot and is sweeping up images and information for their search pages from that site, among many others. I have mixed feelings about it.

Three viaducts

“Three viaducts.” This is Wynkoop and 15th Street, 1978. We’re looking at the 15th street viaduct (built after 1937), the 16th street viaduct (built before 1937), and in the very far distance, the 20th street viaduct. All three have been demolished. Of interest is the Barteldes Seeds building entrance onto the 16th street viaduct. You can see it from the Tattered Cover corner (2012). It’s weird to see a door up there! I was up on the viaduct in 1978, photographing toward Cherry Creek, not Barteldes. I wish Cyril Norrred, the WPA photographer, had looked the other way, toward Union Station, from the viaduct.
How did people get off the streeetcar and enter the Seeds building? (This will always be the “Seeds” building to me.) Could they park on the viaduct? Is it true that the 2nd floor door was the main public door? Oh, to go back in a time machine…

Progress, progress, progress

I’m wrapping up the first round of documentation, which consists of filing all the xeroxes from 1937, the prints from 1978-79, and some (not all) prints from 2009-2012. The files are organized street by street. The documentation consists of entering information about landmarks in each photograph, noting the dates photographed in the 1970’s, any atmospheric and other information (sunlight, clouds, time of day), CD numbers, and any other information pertinent to the images. Not surprisingly, this takes a lot of time. In three weeks, I have logged 76 hours of work. The plan for this week is to print out contemporary images on regular paper for the 38 that were exhibited in the 80’s, research getting a printer (probably Epson), and try to make contact sheets on a scanner for all the film negatives–1970’s and current. Oh, and do more quality control with current images to be sure that we covered the correct corners. I plan to visit DPL, show my work to a librarian in Western History, and do some research with Sanborn Insurance Maps. Must identify that weirdo zigzag structure behind the Windsor Dairy!! Also, this week or next I will visit CHS (History Colorado) to see if I can obtain copies of some old images that I’m missing. Tonight, at a family gathering, I will propose that we schedule a small exhibit for the family–probably at our house–and invite critiques. It’s time to show off this project!!

The documentation for the project…

For several weeks now I’ve been entering data on a spreadsheet about each streetcorner for the three time periods, 1937, 1978-79, 2010-2012. Hopefully this will not only make it easier to identify the images themselves, but provide information on what buildings or other features existed at the times. I am struck by the plethora of painted signs on the sides of buildings in the 1930’s. LoDo has brought back and/or preserved many of these signs quite beautifully. One of our favorites, of course, is “SEEDS” (the Barteldes building across from Tattered Cover). The building appears in “Denver Then and Now,” by Joshua Dinar. The old view (circa 1910-1920) is taken from the 16th street viaduct. I just found one of my images from 1978-79 that shows both the 15th street and 16th street viaducts going over Wynkoop street. Barteldes is barely visible. The image accession number is 881, South on Wynkoop, East on 15th. I’ll scan the image for the blog.

The beauty of a foggy day

Yesterday came home from Denver around 11:00–still cold and it was drizzling in D. Dan and I decided to go back so I could finish up with Arapahoe and 18th/19th. Filtered sunlight. Realized that the footprints of the big buildings are so (OBVIOUSLY) big–duh–that the same buildings dominate many many photographs. Makes things a little bit boring, I think. We’ll judge when everything is printed.
I keep having to point the camera upwards since I’m too short!!
Sites photographed today:
042, 080, 075, 050, 079, 095, and checked on location of 023 (N Curtis, E 16).
Must do 008 and redo 035 (too much street in that one).
Back to Denver on Wednesday…

To Denver today. The weather is crummy, but cloudy, which means buildings can be seen from all sides without big shadows. Nonetheless, my hands were really cold and I think slowed things down. I had to go to Starbucks for coffee and to warm my hands. Wasn’t it 85 degrees a few days ago?
I photographed or rephotographed 10 sites:
974, 052, 044, 040, 094, 929, 951, 909, 931, 045, and 910.
Feeling too short for my camera! Have to point it upwards all the time, inviting more distortion and leaning buildings. Tried to prevent getting too much foreground–i.e.,  intersection–in the pictures.
Sam’s building–Blake Street Terrace–stands out. It’s tall and visible from many intersections. Saw Sam yesterday for lunch. We noticed that Lower Downtown News is next door to the Terrace building. He may approach them with samples of our work.
The 1937 zigzag building/tower behind the Windsor Dairy Building on Blake Street is still a conundrum. I’m going to check the 1930’s maps in DPL next week to see what I can find out.

Glad to see some folks are viewing the blog! One of these days the project will be complete and Sam’s fine 2010-2012 photographs will all be available along with my 1978 photographs…all 215 of them!
I’m happy to report he’s actually going to be working in Lower Downtown!!!! (Blake and 19th) Somehow fitting for the work he’s done down there and an appreciation for the city.

Trying to say “Clocktower” instead of “D&F Tower.” (from Daniels & Fisher–old time department store, eventually merged with the May Co. to become May D&F). Am I just an old Denverite? Not a native, but a semi-native. (If anyone remembers those bumper stickers from the 80’s: [Colorado] native, semi-native, alien…semi-alien…all right getting a little punchy here.) The work I’m doing on the project now is the “back work”–the organization and checking, checking, checking of all the views. Still need to get negative contact sheets, make sure all the digital images from the CD’s are loaded on Picasa web albums (for now) and identified. Must digitize all 1978 negatives and load those with identification. Lots of work, lots of curation. Since I used to make a living as a curator, I have to be extremely thorough. This past week: 24 hours of work. This week will probably be at least 30. I’m holding June 1st as a drop-dead date for…something.

Moving forward with this project full speed. There are lots of details to take care of. For example, we have 40 prints from the old series (1937) that were done at the Historical Society. We have all my negatives and prints from 1978. Plus contact sheets. Plus documentation, folders and folders. Now we have negatives, CD’s, digital photographs. The process is to upload the photos to Picasa, give them captions after comparing the negatives to the digital views as well as the list of sites photographed, then upload to Picasa Web Albums. I also enlarge the thumbnails from the CD hardcopy “contact sheet.” I’m searching for a way to create contact sheets from my negatives without setting up a darkroom again. I keep a master list of the rephotographed images, with information such as WPA number, whether there was a print or xerox from 1937, whether I photographed the image in 1978-79, the name of the contact sheet and negative number(s), identifying details such as addresses, buildings, signs–from both 1937 and 1978–then the dates when the image was rephotographed in 2010-12, the negative numbers, the CD numbers, new addresses, buildings, signs, whether the image has been uploaded to Picasa Web Albums with captions, other notes. Then each view is printed out on plain paper, identifying information is written on it, and the image compared to the two earlier views. Still to come: take every printed modern image and walk the streets, ensuring that the image shows the correct street corner. Also looking for a program that will allow us to print out every image on digital photo paper. Have Adobe Photo Elements…will try it.

Constitution Hall, 1978, after the fire