Happy New Year, everyone. 2008 is upon us.
2008 is a fairly big year for Carson City. It was 150 years ago that a group of folks named Curry, Proctor, Musser, and Green came over the mountains from California looking to buy some land and start a town. The land they bought was the Eagle Valley, and the town they started was named after the nearby Carson River. So this year marks what some of us like to call the Sesquicentennial, but it’s okay if you just want to say it’s Carson City’s 150th birthday.
There’s a brain trust that’s been formed around the 150th, tasked with the job of strategizing ways to commemorate the occasion. Me, I’m not so much for the strategizing. My way is more to stumble in blindly, blazing a fresh trail with code like us web wonks are wont to do. And so it’s in the spirit of stumbling blindly that I today unveil two new websites in the Around Carson family, both geared to the Sesquicentennial and the history of Carson City. They’re both a little undercooked, and I might have liked a bit more time to polish them up before releasing them to the public, but the symbolism of being able to launch them on January 1 was too much to pass up. So here they are, with all their rough edges intact. But it’s okay. I know we’re friends. I know you won’t judge on first impressions, but rather look to the potential of the sites and admire them for the ambitious promise that they hold. Right?
Okay, so here are the two sites. They both revolve around telling the history of Carson City, coming from two different angles: pictures and words. First up, with pictures, is the inelegantly-named Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection. It can be found at wnhpc.aroundcarson.com. It is a photo gallery specializing in historic photos of the Carson area. Carson City, Virginia City, Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, all the usual suspects that are included underneath Around Carson’s banner.
The WNHPC (as I’ve affectionately dubbed it) is kind of slim right now, but that’s because I’ve been frantically programming behind the scenes to meet my little deadline here. That’s right, just like Around Carson, the WNHPC was coded from scratch with my own two hands. I’m responsible for all the programming on the site, so I’m responsible for any hiccups, errors, or general funny business you might encounter during your visits.
The idea of an online photo gallery is one I’ve been kicking around for a long time, and indeed I started the programming on the WNHPC last summer. After quite a few stalls and lulls in progress, it’s finally at a point where I’m proud enough to show it off, and ready to start adding pictures from my collection. I’ve built in quite a few sharing features, and the capacity to view larger sizes of the photo if they’re available. I tried to build this into the kind of historic photo collection I’ve always wanted to see, and I’m just getting started so I’m sure there will be more changes to come.
The second site, committed to attacking history with words, is Carsonpedia (www.carsonpedia.com). This is the online encyclopedia for Carson City. If you’re familiar with Wikipedia, you’ll feel right at home at Carsonpedia. In fact, you may start to feel like I ripped them off. And that is because I did. The software that runs Wikipedia is available to everyone for general use, so I snagged a copy and got it running underneath the site. Yes, it’s a website that I didn’t do all the programming on. Go figure.
The idea behind Carsonpedia is to build up a general storehouse of knowledge regarding Carson City and its neighbors. Much like Wikipedia, I intend to write individual entries for every town, building, person of note, and historical event, tying them all together in a web of hyperlinks. Right now the content there is pretty scant. This idea came to me in a haze as I was drifting off to sleep a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve barely had time to flesh it out to something that’s truly useful yet. But, of course, we’re all friends here, so remember that you’re evaluating based on its potential. The promise of the site. Some of the articles I do have written are ones on Carson City, Abraham Curry, Mark Twain, and Major William Ormsby. That only leaves about 10,000 articles left to be written. The major selling point of the software I’m using, though, is that any of you, the esteemed audience, can jump in to create and embellish articles yourself, making this a true community encyclopedia. My goal is to surpass the Online Nevada Encyclopedia in both size and usefulness by the end of the year. Think we can make it?
Oh well, keep dreaming. Go check out the site.
And happy 150th, Carson City.