William Church Photograph Collection

5 04 2010

The Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture at Troy University Dothan Campus announces the opening of the William Church Photograph Collection.  This is a collection of 180 black-and-white prints taken by Quay Fortner of the Dothan (AL) City Tax Assessor’s Office in March 1958 of properties in the city’s predominantly African American “Frogtown” section.  Fortner traveled through Frogtown’s streets photographing each property.  The photographs document the housing and physical neighborhood of pre-Civil Rights poor and black housing as well as the mill village associated with the Vorris Lumber Company.  The collection is remarkable for the vernacular architecture it captures.  Church donated the collection after saving it from a fire pit.  The collection has been scanned and is available online at http://dothan.troy.edu/archives/inventories/101.htm; thumbnails link to larger reference copies of each image.

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2 responses

17 06 2010
Bob Meade

Thanks for this pointer to the interesting photo collection. It would be interesting to compare with photos of other parts of the city in 1958.

I wonder if the tax assessor took photos of other places for the same purpose, and if they still exist.

I think New York City has a collection of property tax photographs from the mid 1970s which have turned into a valuable historical tool. The city also sells prints of the old pics.

19 06 2010
Bob meade

Oh, and to add to my comment on this blog post, here is the NYC tax photographs web page:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/html/taxphotos/home.shtml

A NYT article:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/city-explores-deal-with-google-to-digitize-tax-photos/

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