Reflecting on Appomattox, the harbor, and the summer

Although I still have one week left, this was Shanasia’s last week so we did our Designing the Parks Teach Back! Presenting to the Olmsted Center staff and other NPS employees, I felt happy to be able to reflect on and share all that I have learned this summer.

While preparing the presentation, I revisited the Appomattox Courthouse National Historic Park maps that I had worked on earlier this summer. Having worked on a different project for the past couple of weeks, I was able to come back to my maps with fresh eyes. In total, Jeff Killion and I created 4 maps showing the conditions at the park in 1865, 1937, 1968, and present day.

In 1865, one sees the full village at the time of the Civil War.

2014-11-20 Village 1865 Period Plan

1865 Period Plan

In 1937, one sees a lot fewer buildings and a prominent paved road, State Route 24, running right through the village core. After the civil war, the village had experienced the departure in its population and the deterioration of its buildings.

2015-07-23 1937 Village

1937 Period Plan

In 1968, one sees a brand new parking lot, many buildings from the 1865 map, and a restored unpaved road. State Route 24 had been rerouted in order to prevent cars from awkwardly driving through the civil war era town.

Village 1968

1968 Period Plan

Lastly, in the present day map, one sees even more buildings, especially the small ones, and small scale features like the canons back on the map.

2014-10-17 300 scale


In 1937, so many of the features of the old village were missing. Contrastingly in 1968, many of the features of the old village were put back onto the map. This makes me think of all of the other invisible stories among us. Sometimes I feel like there are so many new development projects everywhere I look that it would be hard to imagine things looking differently. After getting feedback on them at the Teach Back, however, I now understand how these maps can help us imagine things looking differently. While working on them, I spent so much time trying to get the colors, shapes, and line weights consistent. Getting consistent hay colors was especially time consuming! I think it made a difference though because having the existing conditions map look graphically consistent to the 1865 map makes the 1865 map look just as contemporary.  Instead of having a hodgepodge of old 19th and 20th century black and white drawn maps and one nice Adobe Illustrator map, all the maps look more or less the same. As a result, I think the graphical consistency makes all 4 time periods look significant to and feasible for the park.

To celebrate the end of the internship for most of us, we went on a photo documentation trip to the outer islands of the Boston harbor today. It never ceases to amaze me that there are drumlin-formed islands just right outside of Boston! Today I definitely felt like we were far from the city though! For instance, I don’t think I have seen so many mosquitos before!! Insects aside, it was awesome to spend time with Sasha, Shanasia, Ericka, Margie, and Marc. Throughout the summer, I feel like we’ve become really close as a team and today was yet another really enjoyable, funny, and memorable experience!


Gonna miss these guys!


Lighthouse on Little Brewster Island! Oldest manned lighthouse in America!


Designing the Parks on her shirt!


OCLP team after our Teach Back. Its been a good summer!

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