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About View Historical

Welcome to ViewHistorical, where every home is a museum and every homeowner a curator.

The idea behind ViewHistorical came to me in the summer of 2013 while I was researching my family history. I thought it would be cool to be able to enter my home address into my computer and have images instantly pop up of what my house looked like 50, even 100 years ago. I wasn't satisfied with a blurry satellite image or a drive-by shot at 25 miles an hour.

Our home was built in 1890-something and carries a lot of "history" with it. My wife Carole and I rescued it from the bucket of a bulldozer back in 2006. We fully renovated it into a comfortable home. When you breath in hours of dust remodeling an old home, you spend a lot of that time thinking about who might have lived between those walls before you. You think about what life must have been like for them. I wanted to see who lived there, what life was like for them and even see things like what they wore and how they ordered their days. I wanted access to anything that gave me a glimpse of what life was like for them back then. The vision grew as I imagined how cool would it be to post some of my own old family photos to a site like that. It seemed that a site like that could contain photos that cover several generations of family history. It would include views of the homes from different angles and glimpses of the neighborhoods that were home to them. I wanted to post those images directly to the addresses of the houses where the images were taken in a chronological order so those homeowners who lived there now could also see into their home's past. How else would they ever find those images? I wondered if there were others out there who would want to see what their house looked like back then too. I figured it would create some interesting discussion online and possibly reunite long lost relatives.

It was an idea bigger than what I could make happen with my own resources. So I shared the concept about the website with my family and close friends. They thought I was on to something. (Which is better than thinking I was "on something").

As a sanity check, I presented the concept to the Oregon Historic Society. It wasn't a slick presentation, but they were gracious and listened attentively. I quickly learned from them that something similar had already been attempted by a large online company. As they shared what they knew about the site, I thought to myself that it is true that nothing is new under the sun. Just as I had done, they also approached the historic societies with their concept, seeking buy in. I got excited at that point thinking that I might not have to reinvent the wheel. I thought I could just use their website instead. Looking deeper into it, I learned that their big company approach was very different than what I had in mind for our community and that their marketing plan lacked the teeth necessary to make it work at a grass roots level.

Unlike their approach, our goal from the beginning was not to try to "bring the world together". Not something two small town guys operating on pocket change felt a calling to do. We simply wanted to bring an idea to life that we felt would benefit our local community. In time, we thought, perhaps other communities would benefit from ViewHistorical too. Wouldn't that be great?

Having already teamed up with a close friend and gifted web developer, Micah Dougherty, we continued working on the project. We needed someone with a strong web-database back round who could breathe life into my crazy idea and who could manage the project technically. We worked evenings and weekends until the site was completed.

It's all up to you, our visitors, at this point. This site is absolutely free to anyone who is interested in finding, posting and sharing historically significant images. We endeavor to make it easy for anyone to post images here, young and old. We want to make it a safe place for your community to gather and to share historical images. Lastly, we hope that by doing so, it will enrich the lives of those who use it, helping us connect with our past. While our past does not determine our future, it is certainly part of who we are. That's worth preserving. We like that each homeowner can decide for themselves what they think is historically important to preserve about their home and about their past, to archive as they see fit in order to share that legacy with others for generations to come.

Thank you again for visiting us and enjoy!

Phil Clark