Documenting the American South Logo
Classroom Resources  Header

Going to the Show: Lesson Plans

Explore evolution of personal transportation in Wilmington, North Carolina in the early 1900s through the use of images, Sanborn Maps and Wilmington City Directories

Introduction  |   Activity 1 -4  |   Activity 5 - 7  |   Worksheet (pdf)  |   Learn More

Activity 5: Exploring and Analyzing the 1910, 1915 Sanborn Maps: 20-30 minutes (individually or in small groups):
The next part of the class will allow students to explore the Sanborn Maps, and to identify evidence of the transformation of the transportation industry to automobiles. Students will prepare a comparison "grid" listing the horse-based businesses and the automobile-based businesses identified within a couple block area west of the City Hall.

This activity will focus on the area just to the west of the Wilmington City Hall that was demonstrated in Activity 2 above.

Students will continue to fill out their Evolution of Travel Worksheet so that they can continue to record initial their findings as they work through Activities 5 and 6.

Teachers may want to print out the following directions and distribute to the students.

  1. Open a browser and go to the Going to the Show website:
  2. In the city: pulldown, select Wilmington, and then select [GO] This will take you to the primary interface to explore the city of Wilmington. You will see that the Sanborn Map for 1915 has been overlayed on to of a Google Map satellite view of the area. This feature allows viewers to easily compare/contrast historic city structures with modern day city layouts. The superimposed tickets tag theater locations, with a blue ticket indicating a theater that was open/active in the selected year, and a pink ticket indicating a theater that was not in operation at that time.
  3. Using the Select overlay year: pulldown, select 1904. You should see the map subtly change.
  4. . Experiment with the navigation features include:
    • Zoom: either by using the zoom clicker/slider along the left margin (+ and -)
    • Pan: point mouse in the graphical image, press down the left mouse button, and drag the mouse to shift the view display.
  5. Zoom in a few notches, and center the Wilmington Sanborn map (that has the highest density of tickets) on your viewport.
  6. Using the Go to venue: pulldown, select Thalian Hall. This pulldown displays the name of each Wilmington theater and the year it opened.
  7. Using the zoom and pan, zoom into the geographical area just to the west (left) of Thalian Hall to the point that you can read the labeling on the buildings. Dismiss the Thalian Hall pop-up, by selecting the [X] in the upper left corner of the information pop-up.
    • The pink graphics indicate brick construction. The yellow graphics indicate a wood frame building. The map includes street names and street addresses. You will see that many of the buildings are also labeled with either business type or even proprietor's name. The maps also indicate under streets what type of water and gas mains exist.
  8. Using the "pan" feature, explore the buildings to the west (left) of the City Hall. Orient your display so that you can see the City Livery Co and the Orrell & Carroll Livery, that are north and south, respectively, of Princess and between 2nd and 3rd streets.
    Wilmington 1904
    Students might want to "walk around" a few minutes to explore the various businesses that are illustrated in the map. "Walk" west (left) on Princess, until you reach Front Street, and then "walk" north (up) on Front Street. Front Street was a major commercial street for Wilmington. This takes you past the Orton Hotel, the U.S. Postal Office, and several theaters.
  9. Return to the above view. Using the "transparency" feature, reduce the opacity of the Sanborn Map to see what the present day buildings look like. Move the Overlay Map Opacity slowly to the left to reveal the underlying satellite image. Ask students to identify which buildings are still in place (e.g. the City Hall, the County Court Building), and what buildings have been replaced.
  10. Move ahead in time by selecting the overlay year: 1910. What changes do you notice in the Sanborn Map? Have students note the street address of the business
    • Question: How could students find out of this Livery is still owned by Orrell & Carroll?? (Hint: 1910 Wilmington City Directory)

Teacher Notes: Interestingly, there appears to be continued growth in the horse-oriented businesses in 1910. What might be the cause of this?

Move ahead in time by selecting the overlay year: 1915
Teacher Notes: There are several examples within a couple block area west of the Wilmington City Hall where Liveries have been converted to Garages, or new Garages constructed. Also, Garage & Repair buildings are seen for the first time.

Activity 6: Exploring and Analyzing the 1907 Wilmington City Directory: 20-30 minutes (individually or in small groups):
The next activity allows students to explore later years of the Wilmington City Directory. The Wilmington City Directory was published by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, and is reasonably analogous to a telephone directory that provides listings of government, public and commercial businesses, and proprietors and residents. The Wilmington City Directory also denoted colored racial affiliations with an *.

Students will continue to fill out their Evolution of Transportation Worksheet so that they can continue to record initial their findings as they work through Activities 5 and 6.

For this lesson, you will focus on business categories related to the horse drawn carriage personal transportation industry.

If students have individual computer access, have them follow along as you go through the following steps:

  1. Open a browser and go to the 1913-1914 Wilmington City Directory website:
  2. Explore the navigation features:
    • Click the right page to advance page by page
    • Click on a relative location of the vertical "stacked pages" to move to that "section" of the book
  3. Starting at the beginning of the city directory, click the right page 5 times to display the Preface about Wilmington, North Carolina in 1913. (unfortunately, these pages are not numbered, but most of the directory does include page numbers)
    • This provides a quick synopsis about Wilmington.
    • Consider as you review the preface, what is the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce's purpose in publishing this information? Who were the audiences for this publication? How might historians use this information? How should historians consider this information?
    • How is this similar/different from the 1907 version?
    • How have the economic conditions of Wilmington changed between 1907-1913?
    Teacher Note: For high school students, you might be able to put a lesson together around an economic analysis and comparison
  4. Page forward one more page by clicking the right page 1 time to display the General Index. This provides the general layout of the directory. We're interested in the "categorical" business listings to explore the businesses related to the horse drawn carriage personal transportation industry. You will see that the "Business Directory" is listed on pages 443.
  5. Point your mouse about 2/3 through the vertical page leafs, and you should see a mouse-over hint that displays the page you're pointing at. You want to get near page 443. Page 443 provides the first page of a categorically organized listing. Revist the categories you explored in Activity 3, and record the number of business for each of those categories. Explore the new categories that have been added related to the Automobile industry (hint: page 445)
  6. Repeat the above activities using the 1917 Wilmington City Directory website Continue to fill out the worksheet Student Note: The "Business Directory" in this edition begins on page 109, nearer the front of the directory.

Activity 7 (optional): Using the Wilmington City Directory and Sanborn Map to locate a business.
During your historical research you came across the following photograph:
Thomas Quinlivan
Using the 1909 Wilmington City Directory, find work address, home address, and phone number for Thomas Quinlivan:

Once you have the address, which years of the Sanborn maps include a blacksmith at this location?

Teacher Notes:
All of them.
Horseshoers Category entry: page 416: QUINLIVAN THOMAS & SON, 208 Princess
Individual entry: page 328: Quinlivan Thomas & Son (Thomas and T Joseph), horseshoers 208 Princess (No Phone #) Quinlivan Thomas (T Q & Son), h 709 Bladen (No Phone #)
Princess Street

Optionally, look in the other Wilmington City Directories (1907, 1913-1914, 1917) referenced in this lesson and see if you can get an historical perspective on the Thomas Quinlivan's horseshoe business. Did his business appear in all of these directories? How about 1919-1920: ?

Teacher Notes:
1907: Yes
1913-1914: Yes
1917: Yes
1919-1920: Yes

Teachers might want to conclude the session with a 5-minute collective wrap-up discussion and ask the students to share: What was most interesting? What was most surprising? Did it make them think about the use of images and image processing today any differently? Are there any major historical or contemporary questions that their explorations generated? Where might they go to get answers to those questions?

Assessment will be based on the student's image analysis and the completion of their Evolution of Transportation worksheets, and their participation in the class discussions during Activities 1, 2, and 3. Teachers can determine how much weight each part of the lesson and what specific rubric to use based on their own teaching / learning priorities and classroom practices. The following questions will help you think about how to assess a student's work for various parts of the lesson:

Image Analysis Worksheets:

Discussions & Classroom Activities:

News clippings in Going to the Show collection that highlight automobile travel:
Note: These articles can be found in Wilmington, NC's Bijou Theatre collection of news clippings

17. Illustrated Songs at Bijou (Wilmington Star - 9/17/1907) Watch the Fords Go By.
New Wilmington Paper - (youth publication) price is 15 cents per month or $1 per year

22. The Theater (Wilmington Star - 2/5/1909)
County Road Superintendent Herbert Hocutt ... North Carolina Good Roads Association

23. Academy of Music, Bijou, LeGrand (Wilmington Star - 2/6/1909)
Interest of Good Roads
State Highway Bill

Introduction  |   Activity 1 -4  |   Activity 5 - 7  |   Worksheet (pdf)  |   Learn More