Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Way Back When-sday: Insurance Maps from the 1890's

I have a self-imposed deadline. I planned to get my story, Enticing Julia Morgan, to my Beta Readers by May 1st.

I'm in the midst of revisions, but I'm hopeful I can keep my deadline. The story doesn't need major re-writing (at least not yet!), but I am going through and fixing the errors, rearranging sentences, adding more detail and checking for consistency.

Here's what my work station looks like.


The papers on the left are copies of insurance maps from the 1890's. The maps give amazing detail about the buildings in Little Falls, Minnesota, where my book is set. It's a great resource to discover what types of businesses were in town during 1898. There were at least three cigar factories, two breweries, numerous millinery shops, dress makers, confectionaries, bakeries, hotels, cobblers, tailors, livery stables, banks, schools, churches, an opera house--not to mention flour mills, lumber mills, a paper mill, three brick yards, two iron works, blacksmiths...the list goes on and on!

The maps give specific details about how the buildings were heated, if they had electricity or gas, if there were watchmen on duty, when the buildings were in operation, etc.

I'm a History Nerd, I get it. This stuff fascinates me more than I can express in words. I can't get enough!

Do you enjoy history? Do you like to research? What has been your favorite historical find?

12 comments:

  1. Ooh Gabrielle. Have you joined my History Nerd page on Facebook?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have Kathleen!! And it fits me perfectly. :)

      Delete
  2. Love it! The older I become the more I enjoy history. I do love researching for my stories. Even contemporaries need a healthy does of research. I've learned so much about interesting places and law enforcement. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be hard to be a writer and not love research! I still laugh about your research in the back trunk of a moving vehicle!

      Delete
  3. Love it! I find it very fascinating :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every time I find a new avenue to research, I get giddy! :)

      Delete
  4. I LOVE history and if my voice fit it better, I might even try writing historical fiction. But at this point, I have a pretty contemporary-sounding voice, methinks. Which is why I'm thankful for people like you who write historical novels I love. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa I've heard so many good things about your book, I can't wait to read it! You're writing exactly what you're supposed to be writing!

      Delete
  5. How cool is that?! I didn't like history in school because it just seemed like a to do list of memorizing dates, people and places. Ugh. But I'm with Jess, the older I become, the more fascinating history becomes - especially if I have the opportunity to visit a place of great historical significance. In July, I'll be visiting Gettysburg on its 150th anniversary. I'm so very excited!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna!!! I wish I could go with you!! How cool is that?!?! I've been to Gettysburg and it is amazing! I've never been to a place that "feels" so alive in another time and place. It's actually quite heavy. You can't go there and not feel the battle. Have fun!

      Delete
  6. Wow, I would have never ever thought to look at insurance maps. You're a smarty pants! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I was that smart! It was Mary at the museum who brought them out for me when I told her what I needed to know. Museum staff are seriously God's gift to historical writers!

      Delete

Your comments are my favorite part of blogging!