Documenting the American South

Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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Raleigh — Capitol Square Virtual Tours

Two different styles of virtual tours provide comparative views of downtown Raleigh's Capitol Square.

The first tour is based on a set of Sanborn insurance maps of the Capitol Square area, ranging from 1896 to 1914. Click on the camera icons to see historical views of the capitol and the surrounding environs. The contemporary postcards and photographs that provide the views are from approximately the same date as the map upon which they are imposed.

  1. Sanborn map, 1896
  2. Sanborn map, 1903
  3. Sanborn map, 1914

The second tour utilizes Google's satellite imagery and map features to view historical images in the context of the current landscape. Click on the placemarkers to see the same historical views as the Sanborn maps. Use the on-screen navigational controls or your mouse and keyboard to pan, zoom, and scroll around the map to view the landscape. With the Google Earth plugin, you can also tilt the viewer to navigate the landscape in three dimensions.

  1. Google tour, 1850-1900
  2. Google tour, 1900-1912
  3. Google tour, 1912-1920

Both paths lead to a virtual tour featuring 50 years of historical images from the Capitol Square area. The Google tour for 1920-1970 provides images and postcards of more recent years in downtown Raleigh.

Each Google tour can be downloaded as a separate KML file for use in Google Earth. By opening all the KML files at the same time, you can view every placemarker together on one map and navigate the area to view each image individually.