Lately we have been using GoogleAnalytics more in-depth to learn how people get to ArchiveGrid and this week we found out how much Wikipedia helps.
On August 14, more referrals than usual came from a Wikipedia page about The Wreckage, a historic log house in Ocean Park, Wash. These referrals were going to a record in ArchiveGrid for the Guy S. Allison collection held at Western Washington University. August 14 happens to be the last day the Wikipedia article was modified and because of that, it was featured in the website’s highly-visited Did You Know section, where new and edited pages get mentioned.
That explains the traffic spike that day. But what is The Wreckage and why is WWU’s Guy S. Allison collection relevant? Guy Selwin Allison, it turns out, moved from Missouri, his home state, to Bellingham and graduated from WWU in 1907 when it was called Washington State Normal School. A box of his scrapbooks are now held in the school’s special collections in the Wilson Library.
According to the collection description, the Guy S. Allison collection “contains poems, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, correspondence, and miscellaneous facsimiles of contemporary documents.” Topics emphasized Abraham Lincoln so it would be interesting for scholars to read what Allison, who became a syndicated newspaper columnist, had to say.
Here is some more information about Allison, taken from both the collection description and the Wikipedia page it helped enrich. After a short teaching career, Allison bought coastal property in Ocean Park, Wash., which is on a peninsula near the Columbia River mouth. River traffic was heavy because the Columbia was the only water passage between Portland and the Pacific Ocean. Rough waters at the mouth caused ships to lose cargo or wreck. In 1911 and 1912, Allison salvaged enough logs and cement blocks which washed ashore from two different vessels to build a cabin. “The Wreckage” is now on the National Register of Historic Places.