Images of McCullough’s bridges in ArchiveGrid

Highway 101 north of Gold Beach, Ore., crosses the Rogue River on a concrete arch bridge with art deco obelisks – a design that seems out of place with the industry and resort towns 101 passes through, but not out of place with the history of Oregon’s coastal bridges. The bridge, which is on the National Register of Historical Places, is one of more than 20 Oregon bridges designed in the 1920s and 1930s by Conde McCullough, an Oregon Department of Transportation engineer and civil engineering professor at Oregon State University. McCullough’s distinct bridges still stand along U.S. Route 101. In ArchiveGrid, collections of images of these bridges under construction and the towns they’re in can be found.

The Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Chicago’s Wrigley Field centennial is a nostalgic grand slam

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Nowhere else in professional sports do joy and pain intersect more than for the the Chicago Cubs, the longtime residents of Wrigley Field, the venerated Major League ballpark on Chicago’s north side.

Wrigley Field opened as Weeghman Park on April 23, 1914, 100 years ago today.

In the heat of summer, nothing is better than the view east from “the friendly confines” of Wrigley, passing layered brick buildings and L-trains and ending where the dark sky and a serene Lake Michigan, dotted with white sails, meet.

But the Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908, including the 100 years at Wrigley. And still fans of “the Lovable Losers” crowd sidewalks, L-trains and parking lots to see their team play.[1] Perhaps the most famous fan in Cubs history is Steve Bartman, whose interference with a catch in 2003 cost the Cubs a playoff series.

The rustic charm of the Major’s second oldest park (after Boston’s Fenway) fosters loyalty. Ivy adorns the brick wall surrounding the outfield, and rooftops on buildings across Waveland Avenue host raucous viewing parties. Wrigley boasts a manually operated scoreboard, real organ music, minimal advertising and all the odors of old-timey baseball. Even the location is quaint, squeezed into an irregular grouping of homes and businesses affectionately known as “Wrigleytown” in the residential Lakeview neighborhood.

How many times in the last century have people consumed all these sights, smells and sounds? A lot if they had Cubs seasons tickets – a 1929 hallmark of Cubs executive and female sports industry pioneer Margaret Donahue, who will be honored during Wrigley Field’s decade-themed centennial celebrations this season. Its namesake, Wrigley, is indeed the chewing gum guy – William Wrigley Jr.[2] owned the team in 1926 when it was renamed after him.

The greatness of the game itself is etched in the park’s history. Pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, third baseman Ron Santo and shortstop Ernie Banks led great Cubs teams of the 1960s. Pitcher Bruce Sutter in the late 1970s helped define the role of the modern closer and second baseman Ryne Sandberg shone in the 1980s. All are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but none ever earned a championship ring as a Cub.

In 1998, Cub Sammy Sosa hit 66 home runs as part of a famous duel with St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire to break Roger Maris’ old single-season record of 61. McGwire eventually ended up winning that battle by hitting 71 bombs of his own. Both were later disgraced by allegations of steroid use to enhance their performances.

1. From ArchiveGrid record, “Crowd at Cubs Park, July 27, 1929 [graphic].”

2. From ArchiveGrid record, “William Wrigley watches his team work [graphic].”

For Earth Day, find historical photographs in ArchiveGrid of car-free commuting

Transportation, and how much energy is consumed to get people around, is an environmental topic workers can address for Earth Day today by trying cleaner commutes. Personal automobile alternatives like walking, bicycling, and shared transport can cut carbon emissions, count toward the day’s exercise, and connect with early ways of getting around. However, according to 2012 United States Census Bureau survey data, zero-emission commutes still rank low in how the American workforce gets to and from work: Less than one percent rode a bicycle and nearly three percent walked.

Since I work from home and don’t commute, my Earth Day act is to find historical photographs in ArchiveGrid of car-free commuting. Here are five:

Hemet, Calif., 1899 (from a collection at Los Angeles Public Library)

Eastern Montana, 1904

Arcata, Calif., 1990

Oregon, 19th century

Seattle, Wash., 1906-1947

What can you find?

ArchiveGrid jogs historical memory of women in the Boston Marathon

This Easter weekend, athletes are getting ready to run the Boston Marathon on Monday the 21st. It was also on a Monday in April 1897, when the first Boston Marathon was run – 10 years after the Boston Athletic Association was established.

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As the Boston Marathon has grown in prestige, so has its historical significance in women’s sports – running in particular. Roberta Gibb in 1966 was the first woman to run the race, although she participated unofficially that year and again in 1967 and 1968. Women weren’t allowed to officially sign up until 1972. However in 1967, Kathrine Switzer registered herself under a vague name and despite efforts to physically remove her from the course, she officially completed the marathon. The next year she earner her master’s degree from Syracuse Univeristy, where her papers are held. Gibb in 1981 wrote about her experience for Ms. Magazine and that piece is in a collection at Radcliffe College of letters to the magazine.

In the early 1980s, Joan Benoit Samuelson became the first person to win the Boston and Olympic marathons. Also an author, her books include Running Tide, and Running for Women. New England University in Maine, her home state, houses a collection of her newspaper clippings and articles. Crowning her achievements in 1996, Samuelson was on a Wheaties cereal box commemorating the Boston Marathon’s 100th running. Radcliffe College has a box in a collection of female sports ephemera.

Other collections at Radcliffe College around the history of women in America include one for Hazel Hitson Weidman, a medical anthropologist who served in World War II. The finding aid includes details about her correspondence with family members, including her daughter-in-law running marathons barefoot – in 2013, she was about a mile-and-a-half out from the Boston Marathon finish line when terrorist bombs exploded.

What do repeat race runners do with their collections of race shirts? Diane Sherrer made a quilt out of hers, and it’s in a collection at Cornell University of other materials spanning 40 years of her competitive running and journalism career. Her years at the Boston Marathon are recorded in that collection. Can’t remember what the race’s 1999 shirt looked like? There’s one in the collection.

Weed woes inspire a ‘dandy’ ArchiveGrid search

Libraries holding too many materials and gardens exploding with dandelions both need weeding. While working evenings this week on weeding the latter, I wondered what a search in ArchiveGrid for the springtime invader would retrieve, and if grouping my favorite results here would help me learn to love the weed, commiserate with past efforts to abate it, or offer a new way to look at garden weeding.

Hopefully this list will achieve all three goals:

  • That dandelions are edible doesn’t keep them out of my yard debris bin, but cooking them is recorded in a Northwest folklore archive collection at University of Oregon as both a custom and a superstition. And although I could search online for some dandelion recipes, I would like to see the ones in a collection of pamphlets published last century by Cornell University’s New York State College of Agriculture for the state fair commission.
  • Can dandelions be used to make rubber? A retired Michigan State Archives reference archivist wanted to know and a subject that his collection at Central Michigan University covers is dandelions as an emergency source of post-World War II rubber, according to the finding aid.
  • Collections of dandelions in artistic expression aren’t hard to find in ArchiveGrid because they are vivid and symbolic in their nature. William E. Stafford referred to them in two of his poems, which are held in a collection at Lewis & Clark College. This photograph by a scientist who worked in weed control shows what happened when he fertilized part of an invaded lawn (which looks like parts of my lawn). Also in the collection is a photograph of a what is probably a beautiful-looking, dandelion-covered field.