BOOM! – Looking Back at When the Bodie Island Lighthouse Went Dark in May of 1863

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a 200-mile-long string of barrier islands located on the eastern coast of the United States, in the mid-Atlantic region. This tiny strip of land forms a barrier between the Pamilico Sound, the Albemarle Sound, and the Carrituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Now a major tourist destination, the … Continue reading BOOM! – Looking Back at When the Bodie Island Lighthouse Went Dark in May of 1863

Coal Mining in Alaska: Coal Fields of the Alaska Engineering Commission

Mining has been a vital part of Alaska’s economy for hundreds of years. Often when we think of mining in Alaska, we think of gold mining and the gold rush of the late 1800s. In addition to gold, however, Alaska’s mining industry also produces zinc, lead, copper, silver, and coal, as well as, construction materials … Continue reading Coal Mining in Alaska: Coal Fields of the Alaska Engineering Commission

Life-Saving Stations of Maryland: Drawings from RG 26, Maps and Plans for Lifesaving Stations

Does anyone else day dream of warm summer days filled with sun, sand, and surf? I know I do! Growing up in Maryland, I spent many summers visiting Ocean City. If anyone has been to Ocean City, they will surely remember playing in the sand, swimming in the surf, strolling the boardwalk, and eating sweet … Continue reading Life-Saving Stations of Maryland: Drawings from RG 26, Maps and Plans for Lifesaving Stations

Caretakers of the Sky: The Wright Brothers and Recording the Aerial Age

Today marks the 117th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ushering in the age of powered flight.  To celebrate this incredible milestone, we would like to present records related to the Wright Brothers and their achievement. The dawn of the twentieth century was a time of tremendous scientific progress … Continue reading Caretakers of the Sky: The Wright Brothers and Recording the Aerial Age

The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument

Maybe it is my past as a field archaeologist and a museum geek, but I love a good collection!  Projectile points, pottery shards, fossils, drawings, or maps - groupings of things, especially old things catch my eye.  So, how was I to resist writing about it when I came across a collection of beautiful drawings … Continue reading The Washington National Monument – A National Contest for a National Monument

Civil War Defenses of Washington Fort Plans Now Available Online

The Cartographic Branch holds thousands of drawings, plans, and maps relating to forts, fortifications, and other military structures. These can be found in a variety of record groups and series, including RG 77 Fortification Map File (NAID 305749), RG 77 Miscellaneous Forts File (NAID 305806), RG 92 Post and Reservation Maps (NAID 305818), RG 92 … Continue reading Civil War Defenses of Washington Fort Plans Now Available Online

Highlights from the War Department Map Collection

The Cartographic Branch is digitizing the Record Group 77, War Department Map Collection (NAID 305808), which consists of maps of both the United States and foreign areas. At this time, only the maps relating to the United States have been digitized, although we hope to digitized the foreign maps in the future. The United States … Continue reading Highlights from the War Department Map Collection

Lighting the Way: RG 26 Lighthouse Plans & Maps Now Digitized

Lighting the way for centuries, lighthouses continue to serve as a navigational aid for sailors at sea or on inland waterways. Lighthouses warn mariners of hazards such as reefs and rocks, guide ships to safe harbors, and help sailors establish their position. The Cartographic branch of the National Archives holds numerous drawings and maps of … Continue reading Lighting the Way: RG 26 Lighthouse Plans & Maps Now Digitized

Fire Up the Horses and Let ’em Run! Early Representations of Horsepower from RG 241: Restored Patents

Horsepower!  We hear this common phrase everyday associated with everything from cars to lawn mowers to available human capital.  It's all about power and the power to get things done.  While today the term "horse power" typically refers to the power of an engine in a car or truck and is a single, compound word, … Continue reading Fire Up the Horses and Let ’em Run! Early Representations of Horsepower from RG 241: Restored Patents

Summer Road Trip 2019: The Other Fortification in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina

Leaving Raleigh, North Carolina, we head southwest down to Charleston, South Carolina, for the next stop on the Summer Road Trip.  While the first thing that might spring to mind about Charleston is Fort Sumter, that is not the only fortification sitting in Charleston Harbor, though it is the only one that you can still … Continue reading Summer Road Trip 2019: The Other Fortification in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina