Monday, September 18, 2006

Dig hunts for clues to city's past
American newspapers largely ignored the daily lives of ethnic people and prostitutes in 19th century stories.
That includes local accounts of the Chinese and Japanese workers who built the area's railroads and the women who lived in the "Restricted District" along the eastern bank of Sand Creek.

Without newspaper accounts to guide them, historical researchers must turn to other methods to learn about their lives -- a physical record extracted from just below the surface of dirt above the creek, and as deep as 10 to 12 feet into the earth, said chief archaeologist Bob Weaver.

Not sure how accurate that first sentence is; it reminds me of a book I'd gotten several years ago called Wisconsin Death Trip. It's a collection of newspaper blurbs and photographs from Jackson County, WI from the 19th century. Obviously it concentrates on death announcements, but I wager there is a lot of interesting data from newspapers from back when describing all sorts of semi-mundane events involving locals.