Guide to Photographic Collections
Building New York's Transportation System
These series contain images docum enting the construction, maintenance, and condition of the major components of New York's transportation infrastructure including the New York State Barge Canal System, the New York State Thruway, and other highways, roads, and bridges.
Department of Transportation. Graphic Arts Unit.
17672. Transportation and State Facilities Related Photographs and Photo Logs, ca. 1929-1980. 121 cubic feet
About 300,000 b/w and color negatives, photoprints, and slides document bridge and highway construction, canal repair and maintenance, and construction of State facilities and buildings. A small number show Department of Transportation officials and employees. Also included are nine volumes logging photographs of State projects and a card index relating to the negatives. Photoprints are mostly 8" x 10" or 4" x 5". Negatives are mostly 4" x 5"; some are 8" x 10". Arranged by photographic format (slides, photographs), then by size of photograph, numerical by negative number, or rough chronological order.
Canal Investigating Commission.
A0834. Printed Material, Correspondence, and Photographs from the Canal Investigating Commission, 1888-1912. 6 cubic feet
Includes approximately 400 photoprints of the Erie, Champlain, and Oswego canals which are principally views of locks, towpaths, berm banks, culverts, bridges, and canal breaks and repairs. Locations represented include Buffalo, Tonawanda, Lockport, Watkins Glen, Albion, Syracuse, Amsterdam, Cohoes, Watervliet, Glens Falls, and others. There are also photographs of the Canadian Rockies, the Shinnecock Canal, Long Island, and the Oswego Power Canal. The photoprints vary in size from 4" x 5" to 7" x 9". They are largely unarranged.
State Engineer and Surveyor.
B0727. Glass Plate Negatives Depicting Construction of the Western Division of the Barge Canal, ca. 1907-1921. 92 cubic feet
Consists of approximately 6,000 glass plate negatives showing detailed views of the construction of the western section of the Barge Canal. The negatives measure approximately 6" x 8". Each negative is enclosed in an envelope containing information on the plate number, subject, locality, contract number, and date taken. (Series B0728, Index to Glass Plate Negatives Depicting Construction of the Western Division of the Barge Canal, is an index to these negatives. Series 11833, Barge Canal Construction Photographs (below, page 9), contains prints of these negatives. Middle Division negatives are in the custody of the Onondaga Historical Association, Syracuse, New York. Eastern Division negatives were destroyed in a flood in the 1930s.)
11833. Barge Canal Construction Photographs, 1905- 1921. 21.3 cubic feet
Contains approximately 9,000 photoprints submitted to the State Engineer and Surveyor by the Board of Consulting Engineers, a board of five civil engineers appointed to follow the progress of work on the Barge Canal system. The photoprints show canals, locks, dams, bridges, piers, nearby buildings, damage needing repair, and dredging, excavation, construction, and repair work in progress. Captions on most of the prints provide the date of the photograph, contract number, location, and negative number. Most of the prints are approximately 5" x 8" and are bound into volumes arranged by contract number. (Series B0727, Glass Plate Negatives Depicting Construction of the Western Division of the Barge Canal, contains negatives of these prints.)
A1272. Scrapbook of Photographs, Maps, and Diagrams of Canal, Highway, and Watershed Construction, 1898-1907. 1 volume
Includes items clipped from various publications including approximately 100 photographs relating to roadways, streams, dams and other views near the State's watershed areas. They are arranged roughly by topic.
Superintendent of Public Works.
Assistant Superintendent's Office.
B1021. Photographs of Culverts on the Western Division of the Erie Canal, ca. 1900. 0.2 cubic foot
Thirty-eight 5" x 7" b/w photoprints show the condition of culverts on the towpath side of the canal. Culverts are identified by numbers visible on the photographs and also written on the back of the photographs. Arranged numerically by culvert number.
Department of Public Works.
A4036. Highway Planning Aerial Photographs of Cities and Villages, 1963-1966. 2 cubic feet
Contains approximately 1,000 10" x 10" b/w photoprints of aerial views of cities and villages in New York State counties from Dutchess County southward, including Long Island. (There are also several photoprints of Geneva, Ontario County.) These photoprints were probably taken as part of a reclassification study in 1963 to determine which highways should be under local, county, or State jurisdiction and to assist in the preparation of a new State Highway System Map. The prints are arranged by location, with from 1 to 19 prints existing for each location.
Department of Public Works. Bureau of Highway Planning.
A0766. Capital District Transportation Study Aerial Photographs, 1963. 3 cubic feet
Consists of approximately 1,000 18" x 18" aerial photoprints of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and the Upper Hudson region taken in 1963. The photographs were taken for the Capital District Transportation Study which was carried out in compliance with federal regulations relating to receipt of federal transportation aid. Visible in these prints are roads, bodies of water, plots of land, buildings, trees, and other details. Arrangement is by flight number, then photograph number.
Department of Public Works.
Division of Engineering.
B0223. Negative Photographs of State Institutions, Barge Canal Locations and Structures, and Highways, 1940-1944. 2 cubic feet
Approximately 1,500 film negatives show views of the Barge Canal, State highways, State institutions, and other projects or locations involving claims against the Department of Public Works. The negatives are approximately 8" x 10". The Division of Engineering was responsible for investigating all claims filed in the State's Court of Claims relating to the Department of Public Works, and these photographs apparently were taken as part of these investigations. The negatives are filed in jackets with ten or more negatives per jacket. Jackets provide name of institution or location, claim case number, photo number, direction of view, photographer's name, and date. Arranged by claim number.
Department of Highways.
A4030. Negatives and Photographs of Roads and Road Construction, 1917-1921. 6 cubic feet
Contains approximately 800 5" x 7" glass plate negatives, film negatives, and photoprints of roads in eastern upstate New York. The images show views of machinery and vehicles used in road construction and maintenance, road work in progress, damage to roads, roads after improvements have been made, road signs, railroad crossings and underpasses, and scenes of automobile accidents. The photographs were apparently taken at the direction of the Albany division engineer's office in keeping with its duties to plan highway improvements. Unarranged.
Superintendent of State Prisons.
A3265. Engineers' Reports to the State Commissioner of Highways on Highway Construction with Prison Labor, 1916-1921. 0.2 cubic foot
About 75 b/w photoprints illustrate roads before and after improvements, bridge construction, grading, special construction features, and inmates at work or in camp. The photoprints range from 3.25" x 5.5" to 4.25" x 6.5" and are attached to annual reports which are arranged chronologically.
New York State Thruway Authority.
B0589. Public Relations Planning and Publications Files, 1950-1969. 3 cubic feet
Includes about 50 b/w photoprints, 8" x 10" or smaller, showing sections of the New York State Thruway under construction and shortly after completion. Arranged by topic.
New York State Thruway Authority.
Department of Public Information.
B0592. Negatives and Prints of Thruway Interchanges and Facilities, ca. 1960. 0.4 cubic foot
Contains approximately 300 8" x 10" b/w film negatives and photoprints showing Thruway interchanges and facilities, including many aerial views. Normally included are several views of the same scene taken from different angles and distances. Negatives and prints are usually filed together, arranged by section of the Thruway.