January 31:Historic maps the topic of this year’s virtual historical society annual meeting

An image of a hand-drawn 19th century map, featuring streets, buildings, and the Marais des Cygnes River is in the background. A photo of a man with a beard is featured in the foreground. The words "Mapping the Past" and "84th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society" float over the map.

“Mapping the Past,” presented by Kelly Johnston

84th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society

Sunday, January 31, 2021, 2 p.m.


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Before technology like drones, aerial photography, and GPS, 19th and early 20th century cartographers were creating incredibly accurate and detailed maps of small and large towns and their historic structures. Kelly Johnston will explore the history of some of these maps and how they can be used to research the history of buildings and towns during his presentation at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society, which will be held virtually on Sunday, January 31, 2 p.m.

Libraries and archives preserve incredible hand-drawn maps documenting our history. Many American towns, even the small ones, and their historic buildings were repeatedly mapped at an outrageous level of detail in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now maps like Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and Bird’s Eye View maps, and the gold mine of information they contain, are becoming available to a wider audience. Johnston will discuss how online mapping tools combine maps, old and new, to answer important questions about our past.

Kelly Johnston is a Missouri native, raised on a farm near Warrensburg. He grew up immersed in architecture and building as he worked alongside his father, a master carpenter who built their family home. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Missouri and graduate degree in Geographic Information Science from Indiana University. He taught cartography at the University of Virginia. Recently retired from Virginia, Kelly and his wife moved back to Missouri where they restored their 1914 historic home, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kelly is an architecture guide at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where he leads tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright house.

The January 31 program will be offered through Zoom and Facebook Live. Beginning at 2 p.m., FCHS will offer a short welcome and announce the Volunteers of the Year, followed by Johnston’s presentation, “Mapping the Past.” The program is free and open to the public.

For more information, please call (785) 242-1232 or e-mail director@olddepotmuseum.org.


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