Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Island World

August 23, 1969, Neenah-Menasha Daily Northwestern
If you've read this blog for a while, you know I love maps, and this one is quite distinctive.  I first mentioned it a couple of years ago when I chanced upon a news article about it from 1935.  But this article really whetted my appetite so I was able to track it down once and for all.  The map described above plays into the "What If" game and it almost borders on alternative history.  It describes a Doty Island-centric community where the island was the main attraction for the area, complete with a courthouse and a college and a train station on the OTHER side of the island. 

You can see a very nice copy of this map at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Web Site:  Please take a few minutes to look it up because the photo above is a travesty compared to the map at this link.

Notice the old names for the city streets on mainland Menasha- how Broad Street is labeled as Main Street and Paris Street is Berlin Street.  Notice the old Indian names for the Neenah streets on the south side of "The Avenue," later Nicolet Boulevard.  Later they became just numbered streets. 

If this map proves anything, it just shows that as life goes on, things evolve.  Some plans succeed and others fail miserably.  As the writer says, the early developers would not now recognize the community and residents a century from now would find it unrecognizable as well.  And this was said in 1969.  As Menasha has changed radically in the past few decades, we'd be wise to remember this.  There is much truth to be found in the saying that you can't go home again.

1 comment:

  1. I have been learning a lot lately studying the Sanborn maps available on the State Historical Society and Smithsonian web sites. For instance the name of Ice Street apparently stems from a railroad spur that came through what is now Jefferson Park into that neighborhood for harvesting ice during the winter months floated down from the lake. I also found a nice layout of the Walter Brothers Brewery on Sanborn maps.