Evolution of Fort Lewis College


Looking at other digital history websites

Today I poked around three digital history sites…

The Great Molasses Flood:  While this website looked really cool, it was pretty hard to navigate. There is some really neat content, however I could not navigate it as well as I would have liked. It took me a couple of minutes to even figure out that the things highlighted on the newspaper where links to expand the information from the left sidebar to the right sidebar. Once I figured out how to navigate this site I enjoyed it. For example, one link brought me to a man’s testimony who had been in the flood and it was really an intriguing document. Things to take away from this website is to make my own as visually appealing as this one, but to be sure to make the historical content more coherent and navigable.

The Emancipation Project: The first thing I came to on this site was an entry page: a little plain looking, but the text certainly made me want to click the coveted ENTER button. The site was well organized. I’m a big fan of the graphic organization and table method, so compared to the Molasses Flood site this site looked great to me. The maps were really neat, and dynamic, and after playing around with them for a while I found there was a lot more information on the site than I originally thought. I actually became overwhelmed at this point as wasn’t sure where I should go next. Like the last site, I would have liked some more guidance. One thing I thought was awesome was how the creators of this site were able to create word frequencies tables for newspapers during this time. It was an interesting way to compare different newspapers and ideas being discussed at the time.

Mapping the Republic of Letters: This site was pretty neat! It was really well organized, and visually appealing. It was easy to tell that this was a professionally produced site. Out of all the sites I looked at it was easiest to navigate. The graphics and pictures were pretty neat and the information well presented. If the blog page was working, I would say that this site was in great shape.

Survey of Archival Options near Fort Lewis College

Wow! There is a ton of resources here, and I am slowly staring to figure out what will be of most use for this project. Most importantly I will begin with a special collection at the Center For Southwest Studies. This collection is composed of materials relating to the history of Fort Lewis.  A subset of this collection is a collection of materials from Fort Lewis’s time as a  agricultural and mechanical arts high school (1911-1933). It contains a wide variety of primary sources such as student transcripts, personal correspondences,  publicity materials such as brochures and class offerings, final exams, the deans calendar, and many other useful things.

I have located a book on the history of Fort Lewis, and there are a fews good websites dedicated to its history as well. I’m in the process of finding a history of Southwest Colorado or La Plata county text that could help me with contextual knowledge before I dive too deep into archival research.

I haven’t been able to get in contact with the La Plata County Historical Society yet, as they have limited winter season hours. However, from looking through their sources online I am confident that the archives there will be of great use to me, and I’m in the process of getting some time with these resources.

Fort Lewis wasn’t actually in Durango at this time. It was located in the agricultural community of Hesperus, which is about 20 miles southwest of Durango. I have access to microfilm slides of the Durango Herald (the nearest newspaper) at this time, but I will be on the search for l sources that focus on the community of Hesperus during this time period.

There is a lot of material out there, and it’s time to delve in!

Getting Started

I’m getting excited about getting started on this project! As a Biology major, it should be quite the change in scenery to work in archives.

Fort Lewis has quite the evolutionary history. It was a military fort, Native American boarding school, rural and agricultural high school, junior college, and public liberal arts college. During the period of interest of this project (1914,1917,1918) Fort Lewis was a high school, so it should be interesting to see how my findings differ from those students whose schools were established colleges at this time.

In 2011 Fort Lewis College experienced its 100th anniversary, and today I am looking through a book that was published right before this anniversary. This weekend I shall be making a visit to the Center For SouthWest Studies to survey some materials there…

Wish me luck

Hello world!

This is going to be where I Blog about my progress on a history project entitled “Century America”

I will be exploring what Fort Lewis College and the community was like in 1914, 1917 and 1918.

Century America Project by Leah Hale