The Oldest Ambulance in Ontario, a Walk With History, and Young Love.

Friday is upon us again, I hope everyone enjoys their weekends! Here is only a small portion of the great content that has gone up recently:

Pin of the Week

The Oldest Surviving Ambulance in Ontario, 1908.

Pin of the Week is from Owlinink, of the oldest surviving ambulance in Ontario, Canada. This is the original ambulance used in the oil town of Petrolia, and was built in February 1908 by the Petrolia Wagon Works Company and was used until it was replaced with a motorized ambulance about 1919. The men working in the oil industry surrounding Petrolia were particularly vulnerable to injury with their dangerous occupation, and the ambulance was often dispatched into the oil fields around town to retrieve injured workers and transport them in relative comfort.

In 2008-2009 the Paramedics of Lambton County EMS raised the funds to give the hundred year-old ambulance a proper restoration, and it is now on display at the Lambton Heritage Museum.

The ambulance today.

According ambulance’s website, “Preservation of this ambulance has now ensured that the citizens of Ontario and all of Canada will be able to see how the sick and injured were brought to hospital so many years ago.” This is a great effort to preserve a piece of history that is now available for the community to see. To learn more about the ambulance and its restoration, visit

Pinner of the Week

Neuman's Market Building, 1950.

Pinner of the Week goes to Walk With History, who have pinned some great photos and stories of historic downtown Kennewick, Washington. This compilation, together an effective walking tour, is a collaborative effort amongst the Digital Technology and Culture Program at Washington State University, the City of Kennewick, the East Benton County Historical Museum and the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership. Each building photo has a lovely nostalgic story to go along with it, such as the one above: “Historical records showed that back in the day pricing for grocery items (at the Market) were: coffee $1.00/lb., pancake flour $0.49/lb., and bulk macaroni noodles $0.29/lb. No double coupons necessary!”

Cox Building, 1950. Opened for 41 years and associated with important civic leaders.

Kennewick Transfer Building, 1915. Owned by the mayor at the time, who eventually had to relocate due to financial difficulties in the town.

I like how what at first seems like a mere photo of a building makes way for wonderful anecdotes about the people and culture the make-up community life in a small American town. Experience them for yourself at Walk With History’s Channel here.

 Story of the Week

Young Love, July 1948.

Story of the Week is a nice vignette from Kerr and Porter Family Histories. Heather Acton, daughter of Bob and Betty Porter Kerr of White Bear, Saskatchewan, has pinned this wonderful photo of her parents when they were dating in 1948. Taken at Clearwater Lake, Saskatchewan, the photo is such a nice snapshot of a meaningful family memory. Bob and Betty are learning against the round dancehall that used to be right at the beach, and are about 16 or 17 in the photo. Heather writes that they saw their 50th wedding anniversary in 2002, a wonderful milestone. Here we get to see where it all began!

If you have any memories of your parent’s while they were dating like Heather’s, we’d love to see them pinned and tweeted about.

RSVP for Year of the Bay Event

Alma on San Francisco Bay, ca. 1900, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

You are cordially invited to join with friends to celebrate San Francisco Bay, launch Year of the Bay, and welcome Alma back to her birthplace at Hunters Point

On November 1, Alma will sail back to her birthplace at Hunters Point, bringing this historic scow schooner from San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park back to one of the Bay Area’s most dramatically changed historic waterfronts and communities, and closing a circle of history. We hope you will join us to welcome Alma and open the Year of the Bay — a year which brings the America’s Cup and the opening of a new span of the Bay Bridge — to all of the diverse communities of the Bay through voyages of the Alma, exhibitions, and an innovative humanities crowdsourcing project that will go live online November 1 at

The Year of the Bay crowdsourcing project is sponsored by Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project is directed by Jon Christensen, former director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford, in collaboration with Historypin.

Here is a quick run down of the day’s events:

10:30 AM:  Welcome the Alma and celebrate the opening of a new segment of the Bay Trail at the

EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park in San Francisco.

Noon:  Lunch at the EcoCenter.

1-2 PM: Demonstration of the Year of the Bay crowdsourcing website to collect stories, photographs, and recollections about San Francisco Bay.

2-4:30 PM:  Natural history walks at Heron’s Head Park and along the surrounding bayshore.

4:30-6:00 PM:  Reception and toast to Year of the Bay at the EcoCenter at Heron’s Heads Park.

Please RSVP: or 415-822-8410 as space is limited.

Your humble crew from the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Stanford University, Historypin, the California Historical Society, Heyday Books, Literacy for Environmental Justice, and the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park eagerly await your reply. 

Telluride in the Mountains, A Local Somerville History Nut, and Houdini’s Escape

Hello and welcome to a special Monday edition of Friday Favorites! It has been hectic here at Historypin, but I still wanted to get the word out there about some of the great content that went up in the past week. Check them out:

 Pin of the Week

Fourth of July Parade, Colorado Street, Telluride, 1895.

Pin of the Week comes from the Telluride Historical Museum, with a scenic photo of a Fourth of July Parade in Telluride in 1895. Located in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, Telluride has a rich history as a mining town; from the local Native American Ute culture, the discovery of gold and silver, and the arrival of the railroad, the museum aims to chronicle this diverse history. The world is familiar with Telluride through the the Telluride Film Festival, held for the past forty years and on parr with Cannes and Sundance. I myself knew about Telluride through my love for film, but am glad to be able to explore the town’s history.

Unfortunately there is currently no Street View available for Telluride (get on that Google Maps!), but looking at the photo below, it seems that the intimate small-town feeling still remains:

Downtown Telluride, present day.

Telluride, surrounded on all sides by mountains

I look forward to seeing more pins from the Telluride Historical Museum; in the meantime, visit their Channel and their website.

Pinner of the Week

South End kids pose on a stone lion, Boston, MA, 1933-1943.

Pinner of the Week is user binarydreams, a self-perscribed “local history nut” from Somerville, Massachusetts. With over one-hundred pins, binarydreams shares an array of photos from not only Somerville’s past, but other cities in Massachusetts such as Boston. From sledding on underwater ice to raids on speakeasies in the latter, to child laborers in 1912 Somerville, decades of local history leading up to the present are brought vividly to life.

A yard full of homework, Sommerville, MA, 1912.

A city farmer tends his vegetables in the Fenway, Boston, 1973.

I love individuals that are so enthusiastic about their local history; there is so much to discover and learn, and the potentially more personal element involved can instill a sense of belonging and participation in the timeline of local culture. Binarydream’s Channel certainly has the scope that allows not only locals, but those from around the world to see how much has changed (or what has not) in the area, and reflect on “remember how we used to…”

Check out the Channel’s wonderful collection of photos here.

Story of the Week

Harry Houdini preparing for an escape stunt, 1912. (Library of Congress)

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, Story of the Week comes from the mysterious magician Harry Houdini. A master at his craft, Houdini defied the efforts of experts in almost every part of the world to devise a restraint from which he could not escape. He escaped from iron boxes, paper bags, bank safes, and coffins buried six feet under.

On July 7, 1912, Houdini attempted to escape from a wooden crate submerged in the East River in New York harbor. In the photo above, he shows his handcuffs and chains as he stands with the wooden crate that he will climb into, the hook for it visible on the left. The police inspected that his bindings were secure, then the large box was nailed shut and weighted down with lead weights. The box was then slowly lowered into the harbor, to the delight of a huge crowd onshore.

Here Houdini describes the mental strength necessary to complete an escape: “When I am stripped and manacled, nailed securely within a weighted packing case and thrown into the sea, or when I am buried alive under six feet of earth, it is necessary to preserve absolute serenity of spirit….If I grow panicky I am lost. And if something goes wrong; if there is some slight accident or mishap…I am lost unless all my faculties are free from mental tension or strain. The public see only the accomplished trick…”

Within a minute of being submerged in the box, Houdini’s head appeared in the water, unbound and free. When the bindings were inspected back on the pier, they were found in the exact condition they were in before the box was lowered into the water. Hat’s off to one of the world’s greatest escapists!

About the Year of the Bay Project

The Alma on circa 1907, pinned by the California Historical Society

2013 will see the opening of the new Oakland Bay Bridge, the America’s Cup Yacht Race, and the massive Bay Lights public art project. The Year of the Bay project will explore the history of that dynamic waterway and the culture and cultural heritage surrounding it.  The project will give the public the opportunity to interact with Bay Area history and contribute to challenges that help map historical photos and align old maps with the current map of the Bay, while contributing to a more complete view of history.  We’re partnering with a wide range of cultural heritage institutions around the Bay, from large academic archives to neighborhood history groups, to learn more about the story of life around the Bay.

This project is part of a broader research study by Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and Historypin to examine the potential for leveraging crowdsourced information about photographic, map, and textual content for humanities research.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this unique study brings together an amazing team of scholarly humanities researchers, technology industry professionals, developers, and designers to explore the potential of applying engagement strategies proven in the game and social media industries to aid in academic research.

The study will focus on three distinct humanities research projects that utilize a variety of crowdsourcing approaches, with the intention of identifying multiple ways for different interest groups to contribute to scholarly research, financial considerations for academic research teams, and potential best practices for humanities crowdsourcing engagement.

If you’d like to learn more about the study, we’ll be sharing our research through regular blog entries about the work that’s going on behind the scenes, and of course you’ll be able to participate in the projects themselves as they evolve online.

Some of the cultural heritage institutions participating in the Year of the Bay include:

Funny Animals, the Swinburne Institute, and Iwo-Jima

Happy Friday! Thank you to all the institutions and individual users that have joined and started using Historypin this week, we have come across some wonderful Channels recently. Here in London, where everyone is in denial over the fact that winter has started, let’s keep warm and cozy with some Friday Favourites:

Pin of the Week

Goat stealing a horse's food, April 18, 1895.

For the Pin of the Week, I thought it would be fun to showcase two great Channels through their fun animal-themed photos. This first one, of a goat cheekily stealing a horse’s food, continues the surprising goat-themed week we have been having here at Historypin. The Samuel Butler Project, who have pinned the photo, have many more animal-centric photos from the prolific Victorian photographer of the same name, including sheep and horses on steamers and a man with a monkey. Butler travelled around Europe extensively during the 1800’s and captured the charming, humorous, and poignant slices of life, and this photo is just one great example.

Seal meets man on site of the 'Cities Service Boston' wreck, 1943.

The second is from the Shellharbour Libraries and Museum in New South Wales, Australia, of a man meeting a seal on the beach. The photo was taken on the site of a shipwreck in 1943, in which soldiers from the 6th Australian Machine Gun Battalion AIF rescued the entire crew of 62 Americans, tragically losing four soldiers in the process. A memorial to their bravery now stands on the northern side of Bass Point in Shellharbour. I like the way that this fun photo unexpectedly tells a larger story of local heroism.

Check out the Samuel Butler Project’s Channel here, and the Shellharbour Libraries and Museums’ Channel here.

Pinner of the Week

Fighting boys by the Domestic Economy Building, 1911-1917.

Pinner of the Week is the wonderful Swinburne University of Technology, who have been pinning some great photos of campus life reaching back to the early 20th century. Founded by George Swinburne in 1908, this Melbourne, Australia-based campus holds thousands of historical photographs illustrating the rich history of learning and teaching at the institution. Swinburne’s Channel provides a snapshot of retro learning, from dressmaking and laundry to blacksmith and practical plumbing classes.

Junior laundry class, 1915.

Drum-up some school nostalgia by viewing more photos on Swinburne’s Channel.

Story of the Week

The Battle of Iwo Jima, February 1945.

Story of the Week comes from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library, who have pinned some haunting photos of The Battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945. Many capture Invasion Beach, where 61,000 American marines poured onto in one of the bloodiest and final campaigns of World War II. The battle was marked by changes in Japanese defense tactics-troops no longer defended at the beach line but rather concentrated inland; consequently, the marines experienced initial success but then got bogged down in costly attritional warfare.

The Battle of Iwo Jima, 1945.

These photos were taken by Richard H. Stotz, a combat photographer during World War II who was dispatched to Iwo Jima’s front lines to capture the battle as it was taking place. The job of a combat photographer was very dangerous because they were never heavily armed, usually carrying only a single weapon and their camera equipment. Photographs taken during a combat assault, like Iwo Jima, were rarely developed in the field.  The photographers’ film was sent out by plane or naval ship to an alternate location to be developed.  Interestingly, photographers usually never saw the actual photographs. Photos like these of Iwo Jima were used for training purposes, and to identify any mistakes that may have occurred.  Today, these images of Stotz’s comrades, Japanese prisoners, downed military airplanes and combat operations are valuable historical records and memories.

Check out more photos at their Channel here.

The Historic New Orleans Photo Collection

Central Fire Station, 300 Block Decatur Street, 1928-1932.

Historypin recently helped to Street View hundreds of photos belonging to the Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum, research center, and publisher located in the heart of the French Quarter. Founded in 1966 by L. Kemper and Leila Williams, THNOC has grown to include collections of photography, film, jazz, literature, decorative arts, Mardi Gras memorabilia, and oral history narratives. The Collection’s Historypin images are drawn from the Charles L. Franck Studio Collection, comprising 16,000 photographs and negatives that chronicle the growth of Louisiana and New Orleans during the 20th century. From the classic iron-railing buildings of the French Quarter to the hustle and bustle of Canal Street, THNOC chronicles city-life for over half-a-century.

Here are some favorites that I found while Street Viewing:

Up Carondelet Street from the 100 Block, 1921-1925.

Up Canal Street from the 1000 Block, 1932-1936.

Mar - Jean Apartments, 1002 Esplanade Avenue, 1941.

French Market-Morning Coffee Call House, 1948-1952.

Having never been to New Orleans, going through this Collection extensively has made me feel like an honorary local. If you too want a tour of both old and present-day New Orleans, check out the rest of this fabulous Collection on the Historic New Orleans Collection Channel.  You can also check out their collection on their own Historic New Orleans iPhone app which we built for them.

A fish auction, New South Wales through the ages and an obscure hotel with a glamorous past.

Pin Of The Week

A Fish Auction in Westerdale, 1905

A brilliant image pinned by the National Media Museum of a fish auction in Westerdale, North Yorkshire in 1905. You can see two large fish on the ground to the left and the fisherman standing a little back from the group surveying the auction. Its a great image as the group all look so enthralled with the produce. The photo was taken by Frank Meadow (1853-1941), who is best known for his images of Whitby’s fishing community. He was made an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society on his death in 1941.

Pinner of the Week

Broadway Looking West, Sydney, 1962

Pinner of the Week goes to The State Records of New South Wales. They have been pinning a wide variety of photos dating from the 1880’s up until the 1960’s from across New South Wales. The images range from resplendent scenes of Sydney, to small town railway stations. Check out their channel here.

Story Of The Week

Native Americans dancing on the lawn of Sheridan Inn, 1890-1910

Our story this week comes from the Wyoming State Archive. The Sheridan Inn was built in 1893 by the Burlington Railroad Company and the Sheridon Land Company in an attempt to increase visitor numbers to the area. The hotel was built to impress its guests with a hand crafted bar imported from England and electric lights throughout which was a First for Sheridan. The owner William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody also hosted large Wild West shows and recruited performers from far and wide including local Indians pictured below to perform on the covered porch of the hotel. The hotel was saved from destruction in 1966/7 by the Sheridan County Historical Society and is still a hotel and bar to this day. See the Sheridan Inn on the Historypin map here.

10,000 photos shared by the National Collection of Aerial Photography

We are very excited to announce that the National Collection of Aerial Photography has joined Historypin, sharing 10,000 photos from their fantastic collections. With this impressive contribution they now have one of the largest collections of photographs on their Historypin Channel.

The 10,000 photos span the past 70 years and include images of Europe taken by the Royal Air Force during World War Two. The majority of the collection comprises stunning images of Scotland, from the dramatic coastline and outlying islands to villages and industrial town centres.

Have a browse their full Channel here – we recommend switching to ‘satellite’ view on the map so that you can see some compelling aerial comparisons.

It’s hard to pick the best, but here are a few of our favourites:

NCAP Aerial Photograph, Caen, 2 October 1944.

NCAP Aerial Photograph, Angers, 2 October 1944.

NCAP Aerial Photograph, Glasgow, 24 March 1950.

NCAP Aerial Photograph, Isle of Colonsay, Inner Hebrides, Scotland, 10 October 1988.

NCAP Aerial Photograph, Forth Railway Bridge, 22 October 1941.

The NCAP holds one of the largest collections of declassified military and non-military aerial photographs in the world. The fantastic accuracy of the photographs and the NCAP’s extensive recording of the collections has made it a highly useful archive and its images are used in TV documentaries and to locate unexploded bombs.

The 10,000 photos shared on Historypin are just the tip of the iceberg. There are tens of millions of images in their collection, of historical events and places in Scotland and around the world, and we look forward to more being pinned in the future.

Auckland Heritage Festival kicks off with a Tour on Historypin

This week the Auckland Heritage Festival begins, a fun-filled two week celebration of the city’s history.

We’re excited to be a small part of it as Auckland Libraries, Heritage & Research have created a great Tour which allows you to follow in the footsteps of John Logan Campbell (1817-1912), an influential figure in New Zealand’s history known as ‘the father of Auckland’. Sir John Logan Campbell passed away 100 years ago this year, and this Tour takes you to all around Auckland on a time-travelling visit to the places associated with him.

You can take the Tour here, or on the Historypin iPhone app.

If you want to know more about Sir John Logan, Auckland libraries collections or other heritage festival activities, visit Auckland Libraries’ blog.

And don’t forget to have a look at Auckland Libraries, Heritage & Research Channel which has tons of great pins. Here’s on of our favourites:

Official Opening of Cornwall Park, One Tree Hill, 1903