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Historic Sites Support Legacy Project

Two historic sites mounted pinhole cameras the same day Anniversary Solargraph was declared an Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project. On July 8, the Indiana Bicentennial Commission endorsed this initiative to capture the essence of time by photographing the path of the sun over a long duration. That morning, new solargraph cans started gathering sunlight at the Oliver Mansion and at the JMS Building in South Bend, IN.

Joseph D. Oliver Mansion

The Joseph D. Oliver House, dubbed Copshaholm, is one of three historic houses owned by The History Museum. The mansion at 808 W. Washington Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1895-96 for the Oliver family, founders of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works, and named after the Scottish village of the patriarch.

Kristie Erickson, curator of Copshaholm, welcomed solargraphs on-site to commemorate Indiana's 200th anniversary. Inside each aluminum can is a piece of black-and-white photographic paper that collects light coming through a pinhole. We secured cans in places that will hopefully highlight the native Indiana fieldstone while capturing intermittent outlines of the sun's path. One solargraph can is on the flagpole in front; one can is on a downspout on the south side of the house; and one can is on the pump house overlooking The History Museum.

Kristie invites you to visit Copshaholm and seek out the cans during a guided house tour. Look south in the direction the pinhole cameras face and do some science--that is, predict the outcome of the solargraph experiment. What do you think the months-long photographs will look like when we reveal the solargraphs in December?

JMS Building

The JMS Building, built in 1909 by John M. Studebaker (JMS), is a brick and terra cotta office building at 108 N. Main Street. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is being converted to 52 apartments on the third through eighth floors with office/retail on the first two floors. Thanks go to Great Lakes Capital and HGR Group Inc. for hosting two solargraphs atop the site overlooking downtown South Bend.

Construction Superintendent Rob Bollman secured two vertical solargraph cans to the base of the flagpole on the southwest corner of the roof. Rob has experience in photography, so he was particularly supportive in facilitating the Anniversary Solargraph project. It is a captivating view looking down on the heart of the city, and hopefully the simple pinhole camera atop the JMS Building will convey that beauty.

Solargraphs can be fickle and frustrating. We don't know what we have until we scan the resulting images later in 2016. Many factors can damage the exposed paper or plug the tiny pinhole, so we wait and see. For more participating sites, see the interim list at the bottom of the Anniversary Solargraph blog post.

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