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Map YOUR Backyard

Posted on: April 25th, 2020 1 Comment

By AARCH Staff

Need a break, or some fresh air, or maybe both? Us too. We at AARCH are with all of YOU – coping with the emotional and deeply impactful toll of our current situation.

Take a break, like us. We want to learn more about your world from YOU, our generous and passionate friends and supporters. What places in the Adirondacks speak to you? Is it your home or neighborhood here, or perhaps your favorite camps, landmarks, places, piece of architecture, or any other piece of your environment that interests you?

May is Preservation Month! To celebrate, we want to share in the creativity, artwork, and places that make our community so special, especially while many of us remain sequestered at home with our families. Borrowing an idea from City Lab, we would like all of you to join us in creating and sharing a “map” of your world here in the Adirondack region. This will help us learn a bit more about how our friends and supporters see the region, and hopefully, help you learn more about the buildings, landmarks, and landscapes around you.

Thinking about our historic office building in Keeseville, we crafted our own map to share the colorful and wonderful history that our own “block” has to offer.

Keeseville Map

Our “map” of our “block” in Keeseville, complete with several historic buildings made of Potsdam Sandstone quarried from the Ausable River, including AARCH’s own office building!

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO – Engage and study your surroundings and share with us your “map” through one or more of the following mediums:

  • Drawing or sketch (by hand or digital)
  • Painting
  • Physical “mock-up” (cardboard, Legos, furniture arrangement, laser-printed, you name it!)
  • Any other creation not meeting any of the above criteria.

Some questions to ask include: What buildings are the most important to the surrounding community? What architectural styles are featured? What materials are they made from? When would you guess they were built? What purpose do these places serve now? How may you portray where you want your community to go, or look like in the future?

This effort will capture how all of you see the beauty of the Adirondacks and its resilient communities. Creating and sharing our own unique places in the world is good for the soul. Whether you are looking for engaging ways to educate your kids during the day while stuck inside, or looking for a fun way to “draw” your own backyard, we would love to see what you come up with!

If you need some inspiration, an example to look at might be something we use in our work all the time – Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These maps were largely drawn up between the mid-19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Originally, the purpose of these detailed maps was to allow fire insurance companies to better assess the extent of their liability in roughly 12,000 cities, towns, and communities across the United States, including in some Adirondack communities as well.

1890 Sanborn Map of Keeseville, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Once you’ve created you map, and if you are so inclined, please share a copy, scan, or photograph of it with AARCH. Email your creations with a brief description and your thoughts to Nolan, our Educational Programs Director at, or even better, tag us with your creations on Facebook (@adkaarch), Instagram (@adkarch), or Twitter (@AARCH_NY), and make sure to use the hashtag #AARCHMap. We want to share your map (anonymously, of course)!

We’re sending peace and love to everyone in our region and beyond, and hope that this provides you with a chance to have a little fun, learn or teach a little about historic preservation, and show your love for YOUR Adirondack community. ❤️


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One Response

  1. Sharron L. Hewston says:

    This is a great project. I hope others take advantage of their free time and get involved.
    I might try my hand at this as well. 🙂 … Me smiling.
    Sincerely, Sharron, Township of Jay’s Historian & Forks native.
    4th May 2019

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