In our last visit to the BHS, We were introduced to several maps of Brooklyn in the late 1800’s. Maps were just as essential back then as it is now. The conventional use of maps hasn’t changed at all. When approaching a map we learned that you should always notice the compass. The compass can help us orient ourselves on the map by pointing north. Some maps are fancy others are not. Maps were not as accessible back then as it is now. Nowadays we have google maps and instant access to digital maps of all sorts. Maps are also in display for us everywhere. Back in the 1800’s maps were expensive to make, therefore only used by those who absolutely needed it. People found their way around by word of mouth.
Disease was one of our central topics in class. Widespread disease was very common back in the day. There was no control and disease would spread easily because of the high population density in Brooklyn. Brooklyn wasn’t such a clean place either. Wood used outside would decay and rot quickly and all sorts of bugs and critters would settle in the filth. Yellow fever among other diseases were common and would quickly wipe out a large percentage of the population. Fecal matter from animals and even people would accumulate in the streets, causing people to be in direct contact with it. Brooklyn was not the healthiest place to be in.
After having our discussion about maps and disease the class split into a few groups. My group looked at some sewer plans. In short observation I found that the sewer system in Brooklyn wasn’t the most efficient or the most hygienic. My group easily pointed out places in the system where filth would build over time. On a side note, the plan we saw seemed similar to any modern day plan we might see in our architecture classes. Their use of center lines and tags and scales were very similar to how we draw.