Daily Archives: November 6, 2008

A Touch of History

While in school, History was not my best subject. I honestly didn’t care about it, figuring it was a bunch of dates, events, and dead people that had no bearing on my life.

As I grew older, I began to understand the importance of history. I could see in my minuscule little life how the present and future in many ways is determined by the past. I could see cause and effect. Knowing my own history helped me to not repeat mistakes, for one, and to use my past successes to build new ones.

I not only started to gain an interest in history, but an affection for it.

As a land surveyor I get to research documents that date back over a hundred years. However, I rarely get to touch the original documents.

That changed today, however.

North Dakota Parks and Recreation hired us to scan in original engineering drawings of two state parks. They want hard copies for a presentation, and electronic copies so they can make as many copies as they want without continuing to handle the originals. The state Historical Society has bugged them for years to give them the plans, but Parks and Rec didn’t want to part with them.

Now they can.

I scanned in about a third of the plans today, and doing so was simultaneously exciting and unnerving. These plans were drawn by hand, mostly in pencil on thin onion paper. This paper is no thicker than the tissue paper used to wrap gifts, so they need a gentle handling. I almost wished I had a pair of cotton gloves.

I also held my breath every time I fed a 24×36 sheet into the scanner. I feared every time I would feed it in wrong and the scanner would tear the plans.

Luckily the scanner is well-designed, and when it senses a fold or bend in the paper it stops. I have yet to witness it tear a sheet, but the worry still exists.

The best part is I get to handle a small part of North Dakota’s history. These plans were drawn up from 1939 through 1941. They are true works of art as well as historical documents.

I’m proud to play a small role in perpetuating that history for future generations.

Change o’ subject.

My nano word count is a pathetic 2549. I’m not worried as I still have plenty of time to catch up.