The Library of Congress hosts a wonderful collection of drawings and photographs of historic American architecture. These documents are a research source for architects and engineers, but they can be accessed on-line by anyone. Here is a brief description of the collection from the Library of Congress website:
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) are collections of documentary measured drawings, photographs, and written historical and architectural information for about 37,000 structures and sites in the United States and its territories. The U.S. Department of the Interior is responsible for the administration of these surveys and creates the records which are transferred to the Library of Congress for service and preservation.
These photos and drawings are considered public domain so you can download and print these images for your personal use. The images are an interesting and inexpensive way to add some great artwork to your home. A large group of photos or drawings matted, framed and hung in a grid would create a unique focal point for a room.
The archives have a search function so you can search by location or building type. Here are some ideas we had for using these photos and drawings:
- Create a collection with photos from your home town.
- A series of different railroad depots or windmills would be fun in a little boy’s room.
- A collection of beautiful American gardens would be appreciated by a friend with a green thumb.
- Architectural drawings by famous architects would be a great addition to a home owned by architecture buffs.
With just a bit of imagination you can create a wonderful collection that reflects your tastes and interests. Here are just a couple photographs we came across:
The Golden Gate Bridge
Green House, 167 Washington Street, Portsmouth, NH
Hop on over to the Library of Congress website and share some creative ideas you have for using these historic photos.