Documenting the American South


Going to the Show

Using the Google Maps Interface

The centerpiece of "Going to the Show" is the Google Maps interface. From here, you can load Sanborn® maps from different years, view theater locations, and access information and content about each venue. This documentation was written to help you understand the options you find there.

If you have not already done so, navigate to the collection home page:

From the dropdown box at the bottom of the page, select a town and click the "GO" button. The Google Maps interface will then load in your browser, with the selected city map centered (the image below shows a map that has been zoomed into).

Navigating within Google Maps

The interface you now see on your screen contains a variety of options that help you control what you see and how you want to view it. The numbers associated with each item outlined below corresponds to the numbers on the image above.

  1. Year dropdown
    Use this dropdown menu to select one of the years for which the map was created. Since maps were updated on a regular basis, more than one map may be available for each city.
  2. Venue dropdown
    Use this dropdown menu to select a venue within the current city. Notice that each venue listed also includes a date: this is the earliest known year in which a movie was shown in that location. Depending on the venue, it might have been completed in that same year, or it might have been an edifice — such as an opera house — originally built for another purpose.
  3. Display toggles
    These checkboxes toggle on and off various display choices:
    Checking this box causes all locations that functioned as theaters to appear. Depending on whether or not the theater was active during the year the displayed Sanborn® map was created, the ticket will be either pink or blue (see points immediately below).
    Active in 19XX
    Checking this box causes all locations that functioned as theaters during the year of the map's creation to display. These locations are represented on the map by blue movie tickets.
    Inactive in 19XX
    Checking this box causes all locations that functioned as a theater at some point in time, but not during the year of the map's creation to display. The locations are represented on the map by pink movie tickets.
    Overlay Map and Opacity
    Checking this box causes the selected Sanborn® map to appear. The "Opacity" slider allows you to change the opacity of the map.
    Current Street Names
    Checking this box causes the street names on the Google map—i.e., the satellite image over which the Sanborn® maps are laid— to appear. Street names behind the Sanborn ® map can be viewed either by lowering the map's opacity or by un-checking the "Overlay Map" box (see above).
  4. Map Size
    These radio buttons allow you to select different sizes for the map.
  5. City/State View
    These buttons switch between the city and state view of the map. Note: if you have zoomed in on the map, you can click "View City" to return to the default view rather than using the zoom slider (see below) to zoom back out.
  6. Map key
  7. Each Sanborn® map included a key. These keys were placed on the edge of the maps and so were not included as part of the map overlays here. Since building types were represented with the same color from year to year, and since other signifiers also remained consistent (large numbers at the edge of a map, for instance, refer to an adjoining map), we were able to select a single representative key for all of the maps.
  8. Location path
    This path indicates your location within the map interface. Clicking on any one of the listed locations will bring you to that zoom level.
  9. Zoom slider
    The zoom slider enables you to zoom in and out of the map. You can either click on the "plus" or "minus" signs at each end of the slider, or you can click on the slider handle between the two ends and zoom in and out using your mouse. Double-clicking on the map itself will also allow you to zoom in: whatever part of the map you double-click on will be centered on your screen. To quickly zoom out to the default screen, you can click the "View City" button.
    If you zoom out far enough, you will see the "State View"—an outline of the entire state, along with markers for each of the cities included in this collection. Clicking on a marker will launch an information bubble that lists the total number of maps, venues, and content items (e.g., newspaper clippings, postcards) for that city. Any of the links in the bubble will return you to the city view.
  10. Navigation arrows
    The navigation arrows allow you to move east, west, north, and south in your screen view. You can also single-click in the screen with your hand cursor and move the screen with your mouse.
  11. Venue marker
    Clicking once on a venue marker—or ticket—launches an information bubble that provides information about that venue: the name of the venue, the dates of operation, and a link to the content items (e.g., newspaper clippings, postcards) associated with that venue. You can also zoom directly to its location on the map. Every venue is represented by its own ticket. A blue ticket represents a venue which operated during the year of the map being viewed. A pink ticket represents a venue which was not in operation during the year of the map being viewed.
    Some towns (Wilmington, for instance), had many venues, so you will need to zoom in on the map to be able to click on some of these venue markers.