A Story Map of Improvement

In Digital History class, we have been utilizing a program called ArcGIS. ArcGIS allows one to generate a tailored map from a set of base maps and data points. Much of the work I have done in this Digital History course has pertained to the City Beautiful Movement around the year 1902. More specifically, I have researched and compiled a list of the names of the members of the Municipal League, and the Board of Trade, all who played important roles in the development of Harrisburg as a modern city. This final project will utilize much of the information I had previously gathered on the donors who gave to the improvement of Harrisburg. From this information, I will be creating a map that clearly shows the important places, and important people during this time of great progress in Harrisburg.

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This is an example of a map that has data points showing where each donor to the city improvements lived.
The Board of Trade building in 1903
Photograph of the Board of Trade building (1903) from The Dauphin County Historical Society

This project will involve the utilization of geospatial data to map out the campaign for beauty. The Story Map created will highlight the important places, and figures involved in the propagation of the movement. I compiled a general list of the donors to the city improvements from the Harrisburg Telegraph with the help of Dr. Pettegrew. From this list, I was then able to continue the search for images of a few of the donors. Finding photographs from the Dauphin County Historical Society was not an easy task, however, I was able to compile images such as this image of the Board of Trade building.

The ultimate goal of this project is to set up a storyboard which enables a viewer to select points on a map which will then expand showing images such as the one to the right. Each of these images will contain an explanation of the role of the person or place in the improvement of the city of Harrisburg.

A photograph of Vance McCormick in the year 1894 from The Dauphin County Historical Society

Among the donors covered in the Story Map, Vance McCormick stands out as the most significant.  Vance McCormick not only donated five hundred dollars to the improvement campaign, but he was also elected Mayor of Harrisburg in 1902. McCormick was one of the leaders of the movement for improvement. McCormick created one thousand acres of public parks in the city, as well as cleaning the city’s water system. Due to his significance in the movement for improvement, McCormick will be one of the key figures in the storyboard.

Along with places such as the Board of Trade building, and key figures such as Vance McCormick, I will also map out some of the focal points of the campaign for beauty. While researching, I stumbled upon some fantastic images of ads for the improvement movement in the streets of Harrisburg. Pinpointing the exact location of these ads will rely on locating the addresses of the businesses in the background such as “Sam Kuhn Clothing” (Located behind the ad in the image below). Once I obtain an address I will be able to place them on a map to further visualize the extent of the campaign for improvements.

A 1903 Ad for Improvement in Harrisburg
A 1903 Ad for Improvement in Harrisburg from The Dauphin County Historical Society


-Edward LaRow III, Messiah College

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