35. Chronicling America

When planning responses for future disasters in a community, one of the best tools an ARES member can use is local history. Area libraries can be very useful for researching such past events, and that is probably as good a place as any to begin.

But I have stumbled upon an online resource that I’d like to share with you. The Library of Congress has a website you might want to visit at your leisure. The Chronicling America site ( http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ ) features thousands of daily and weekly newspapers that have been scanned in and are searchable by keywords, dates, locations, etc. The earliest newspapers date from 1836 and the last entered so far are from 1922.

I have researched Springfield and vicinity floods, tornadoes, fires and train wrecks using this site, learning a great deal about my community in the process.

Note that when searching these for a major event in western Ohio you are just as likely to find it in a Washington, D.C. or California newspaper as in an Ohio one. The telegraph distributed these stories evenly around the nation within hours of their occurrences.