Before Photo: Indiana University Archives. After Photo: James Brosher/IU Communications
Several months ago during a photo shoot in the University Archives, a hand-tinted aerial photo of the Old Crescent hanging in the reading room caught my attention. I studied the photo for several minutes, taking note of all the buildings and landmarks that didn’t yet exist in 1949. The Sample Gates and the Maurer School of Law were not yet there. A power plant occupied the land where the IMU Biddle Hotel and Conference Center exists today. Farther in the distance, the 10th Street Stadium stood in the present-day Arboretum. No Herman B Wells Library dominated the sky at the corner of 10th Street and Jordan Avenue yet.
It’s fascinating to see how much the campus has grown in the past 68 years. Using our drone, I set out to visualize the transformation. With help from my colleague Eric Rudd, a fellow FAA-licensed drone pilot, we positioned our drone in a few different spots near the Atwater Garage in an attempt to find the same spot where the 1949 photograph was taken. We consulted a printed version of the original 1949 photo and repositioned the drone several times to match up as much as possible under FAA regulations.
The resulting image isn’t an exact match to the original, but it’s likely as close as we can get without knowing the exact position of the plane and the focal length of the camera used in 1949. That said, I hope this image slider helps to visualize the incredible transformation the campus has undergone in the past six decades.
Special thanks to Bradley D. Cook, Curator of Photographs at Indiana University Archives, who provided a copy of the original 1949 image.