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Page Description

The following page is a two column layout with a header that contains a quicklinks jump menu and the search CSUN function. Page sections are identified with headers. The footer contains update, contact and emergency information.


Find Photos

There are several ways of retrieving or viewing photos in the gallery.

Using this Archive

I House: Williamsport, Ohio

Photo of an I house near Williamsport, Ohio

The I house pictured here, is a typical example of the type of photo included in this archive.

To find this photo, you can search through the archives by key terms associated with this photo. Each photo is cataloged by architectural characteristics (I-House), regional identification (Midwest); absolute location (Williamsport, Ohio); and by one or more general categories (folk housing, agriculture). See discussion below for additional information.

Absolute Location

Each photo in this archive hs been assigned at least one indicator of the location of the photo. If precise coordinates are available, the photo is geotagged with latitude and longitude coordinates. City or county and state information is also included in the archive when such data is available.

Occasionally, a regional indicator, such as "Midwest" or "Upland South" is applied as a photo tag when appropriate.

When the actual location is unknown, an estimated location may be assigned to the photo, with a tag indicating "location uncertain", or "location approximate".


The photos in the archive have also been categorized by at least one and often more topics. The topic tags roughly correspond to common chapter divisions in an introductory geography textbook.

Key Term and Title

Each photo has a title in the file name, which also frequently includes one or more key terms, or "tags". You may search for photos by tags.


Click any of the links below to see sample photos, along with the applied identifers.

  1. Example: One Room School House
  2. Example: Pennsylvania Roadsign
  3. Example: Googie Gas Station

Dr. Steven M. Graves
Geography Department
130-B Sierra Hall
CSU Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8249

Phone: (818) 677-3517
Fax: (818) 677-2723


Welcome to the American Landscape Project Web Site

Photo of an I house





The American Landscape Project is a free, online, archive of photos and slides chronicling the built environment of the United States.

Most of the photos were taken by geographers and include a stunning variety of landscapes, topics, regions, and eras. Much of it is mundane, ordinary, vernacular and wonderful. Some of the collection chronicles the unique, different, exotic and weird.

Some of the photography is quite good. Much of it suffers from the limitations of the photographic technology of the past, especially the old slide film; and photographic skills of those who have contributed to this collection.

Nonetheless, this is a valuable archive of photos that I hope students of the American Landscape will find useful, educational and fun. Hopefully, it will spur your own exploration of America.

The site is under construction and will remain under construction for the foreseeable future as the collection is placed online.

How to use the archive

At present, the most effective way of searching the photo database is through the Picasa Web Album. This photo browsing web site allows visitors to navigate photos largely through the use of "tags" or key terms applied to each photo. Photos are organized into albums, but may be in multiple albums if multiple subjects or concepts are evident in the photo. Photos are largely geo-referenced as well, so the viewer can tell roughly (and sometimes very precisely) where the photo was taken.

Picasa also includes a search function that allows you to type in key terms. You can search within only the photos in the American Landscape Project collection, or all the photos in all the the Picasa public galleries.


What sort of photos are archived at this site?

Much of what is archived at this web site are photos of the American vernacular landscape. There are lots of photos of ordinary buildings, folk architectures, gas stations, motels, road signs, churches, parks, restaurants, etc.

To those who have learned to see as a geographer, there is much more; infinitely more.


What happened to this site?

A few years ago, just as this site was beginning to get visitors, it became clear to me that this web site was badly failing to comply with proper accessibility standards. My web authoring skills, limited as they are, prohibited me from making the needed upgrades. Several things have changed making a rebirth of this web site possible.

Look for additions to the collection and a much better search interface in the future.



This web site is dedicated in part to keeping alive the considerable legacy of
John Brinckerhoff Jackson