Main Street, Carolina

Main Street, Carolina


Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Durham, Durham County, North Carolina, April 1902

Main Street, Carolina is designed to encourage and facilitate the production of digital projects about the history of towns and cities in North Carolina. We work in collaboration with local organizations around the state to originate, plan, and develop online projects that engage local audiences around the history of their communities through the "location" of multimedia content on historical maps.

A unique feature of Main Street, Carolina is its system for displaying and manipulating more than 1000 large-scale, color, fire insurance maps of 45 towns and cities in North Carolina published between 1885 and 1923. Projects can also use more than 300 other georeferenced historical maps of North Carolina drawn from North Carolina Maps. As its name suggests, Main Street, Carolina recovers and represents the turn-of-the-century history of "downtowns" in North Carolina in an especially powerful way, enabling a wide range of users to discover previously invisible connections among people, events, stories, images, and places. It also encourages them to connect that history with the lived experience and built environments of their communities today.

We are currently exploring the capabilities and possible applications of Main Street, Carolina with a number of partner organizations around the state, among them: the Levine Museum of the New South (Charlotte), New Hanover County Public Library (Wilmington), Swiss-Bear (New Bern), Preservation Durham, and the City of Durham.