WARREN COUNTY, NEW YORK
ARCHIVAL COLLECTION



Record Series:  PUBLIC WORKS CONSTRUCTION PHOTOGRAPHS

Dates:  1918 - 1970

Location: Warren County Records Storage & Archives.

Format:  Photographic formats include: glass plate negatives, safety film negatives, nitrate film negatives and  black & white prints.

Arranged: By Medium & by Town / Project #, Item #

Volume:   2523 Items

Department: Public Works

Legal Restrictions: None

Use Restrictions: Staff will access all records and must approve all requests for copies.

Historical Background:

Among the most interesting of all highway-related records are the over 2500 prints, glass plates and film negatives documenting county highway, bridge, dam, building construction led by the Department beginning c. 1918.  That 371 glass plates survived undamaged for over 80 years is truly a marvel.  Most certainly, credit for this must be given to the Superintendents that have
guided the department since it's establishment in 1908 to the present and most notably being our first two Superintendents:  Bertram Murray - 1980-1939 and Herrick "Hap" Osborne, 1940-1968, who obviously recognized the importance of retaining the history of construction in visual format. While the bulk of the collection documents construction thru the late 1930's, including the construction, repair, and improvements  of all major road projects as well as the onstruction of the 1928 Westmount Tuberculosis Sanitarium and the County Highway Department Building in 1927, more modern arteries such as the Quaker Road By-Pass are also documented in this format.  As part of the 1998/99 Archival Project, funded by the Local Government Records Mgt. Improvement Fund, special attention was given to all items in the collection (the largest of this format held by the county), reproducing prints from negatives previously unprinted, preserving each item in appropriate archival enclosures, and ensuring future access by creating a database catalogue as well.  In 1971, the Highway Department of old gave way to the Department of Public Works, a name change that reflected a much broader scope of duties and responsibilities.

Description of Record Series:

Photographic formats include:  5x7" glass plate negatives (371 items), 5x7" safety film negatives (322 items), 5x7" nitrate film negatives (198 items) stored in metal box independent of this collection (198 items), and  5x7" black & white prints and reprints produced from glass plate or film (safety & nitrate) negatives (1632 items).  Reverse side of print provides following information: project description, road number, project number, station numbers, date as entered by the Highway Dept.  Prints are also identified as belonging to the Department.  Photo prints date c. 1918-1970, while negatives are available c. 1918-1940's.

Purpose of Record:

A record in film format of construction & improvement projects for highway, bridges, dams, encroachments, accidents, and county facilities as carried out by the Warren County Highway Department c. 1918-1970; used in conjunction with Highway Maps (plans,
profiles, cross-sections), the collection provides an accurate look at projects engineered by the Warren County Highway Department.

Other Formats: Prints & Negatives

Finding Aids:  To facilitate research, all items have been catalogued using MS Works Database: file name c:98_proj\photocat.wdb.  Catalog Access numbers have been assigned and consist of town (3-letter prefix, project number, item number (i.e. BLT.01.10); number has been entered on the back of the print (pencil, non-invasive); all negatives have been identified as to the corresponding print, with the negative envelope or folder labeled with the print number followed by S, N or G for safety, nitrate or glass negatives.  The printed catalog is arranged by Town and includes: Project Name, Sub-Title (Descriptions), Date, Year, Project Number, Photo#, Negative # and Negative Type.

Related Series: Maps-Highway, Attorney Files, Civil Actions-Highway, Highway Papers,  Payroll-Highway and Payroll-TERA, all highway records series listed in the Highway Guide.

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