Tag Archives: Google Maps

Google Maps Goes Retro

Who hasn’t used Google Maps to get a bird’s-eye view of his house?

But who knew the bird flew in 1934 too?

Alert “06880” reader Dick Lowenstein sent a link to an amazing website.  Part of the University of Connecticut Map and Geographic Information Center, it features a box to type in any Connecticut address.  (It says “locate an address in the Hartford area,” but that just proves how capital-centric they are upstate.)

Hit “enter” and 2 maps appear, side by side.  One shows the current, familiar Google Maps view of today.  The other shows the same view — from 1934.

I grew up on High Point Road, literally in the shadow of the Staples athletic fields.  Eighty years ago, my street didn’t exist — nor did Staples.  It was fields and forests — truly the outskirts of town.

And check out this view of the beach:

The Bradley Street neighborhood was already developed, and Old Mill too — but look at Bluewater Hill and Compo Hill.  There was nothing there — just open land.  Quick, let’s travel back in time and buy up some property!

The images are much sharper on the actual website than reproduced above.  Of course, the 1934 aerial photos are not Google-quality — and they’re black and white, not color.  Then again, nothing from 1934 is in color.  It was a very gray year.

But in their own way, the older maps are even more remarkable than their spy-satellite, 21st-century counterparts.

We know what we’re looking at today.  Now we can also see those same — yet very — different scenes from another, fast-receding century.

(Click here for the UConn Google Maps website.)

Finding Bald Mountain

As a lifelong Westporter, I thought I knew every place in town.

I’ve never heard of Bald Mountain — but Google Maps has.

Alert “06880” reader Scott Smith spotted the elusive mountain — not far from the Saugatuck River shore, just across Imperial Avenue near Baker Avenue.  It’s now part of the Gault housing development (Google Maps puts it smack at the end of Wheeler Gate, which is not actually a gate but a road).  Presumably back in the day it was a true mountain (or at least more than a molehill).

“Perhaps it was used by ship and barge captains as a navigational aid long ago,” Scott says.

“But just think of the mental picture it gives non-Westporters when they see this big, mysterious ‘Bald Mountain’ situated between downtown and Saugatuck.  Who knew?”

Google Maps knew.

Then again, they know everything.