Category: Vault

Our lady of Lourdes blueprints

Omaha’s Landmark Heritage Preservation Commission has been updating its expansive site this summer. In addition to hundreds of fairly recent (but still historical) photos of homes and buildings, they’ve added more than 500 building plans filed with the city between 1907 and 1926. It’s easy to get lost in the archive, but it’s worth it.

Among the highlights are a dozen or so churches (including Our Lady of Lourdes, above), dozens of schools (including Omaha Central), tons of old theaters (only a few of which remain standing today) and even a handful of residences.

The site is a magical combination of all the things I love: good design, local history and hopelessly giant archival databases. Go dive in here.

Dundee theater Omaha blueprints
The Dundee Theatre.

Washington Elementary blueprints
Washington Elementary

Union Pacific Headquarters facade
Former Union Pacific Headquarters facade. This amazing building was torn down in 2008 and has remained an empty lot since.

Union Pacific Headquarters lights
Former Union Pacific Headquarters lighting.

Union Pacific Headquarters door blueprints
Former Union Pacific Headquarters door details.

Emigre, arguably the most unique type foundry in operation today (and publishers of an excellent, now-defunct design magazine of the same name) has posted PDFs of 15 of their type specimens (and one complete font catalog!) on their website. Most of them are gorgeous. I’ll be going to Gardenmart before long to buy some simple frames so I can print and display a few of these pages.

Melbourne has digitized and made public hundreds of old police evidence photographs. The site is a little clunky to navigate, but hidden within the catalog are dozens of mug shots of 1920s convicts which look more like studio portraits of the upper class than snapshots of the city’s criminal element.

A Flickr set of Las Vegas’ neon graveyard.

One hundred abandoned houses of Detroit.

I tend to be a digital hoarder. For years, I’ve built a collection of online collections. The effectively infinite storage capacity of the digital world has compelled scores of very patient people to scan, organize and upload giant arcane archives. And I love them.

To date, I’ve amassed some 200 bookmarks of these random collections in a folder called ‘the vault,’ from inner-envelope security patterns to huge numbers of WPA posters. And at the encouragement of my friend Matt (who, for some reason, thinks that people might be interested in my minor obsession), and inspired by my friend Melanie’s semi-regular Thrift Store Thursday feature, I’m going to highlight a few of them each Wednesday for a while.

WWII posters

This Flickr set contains nearly 3,000 Allied Forces (mostly American) World War II propaganda posters. I could spend a week browsing through them and still not see them all.

Public transit logos

Close to 200 logos of public transportation systems from around the world. They represent a study in not only transit imagery, but also monograms featuring the letter “M.” Find your city.

Hand-lettered covers is an awesome collection of what you’d expect from the url. Their nearly 100 hand-lettered covers are particularly fun to browse.

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