Historic Aerial Photos

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The Collection

When the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service photographers hung their cameras out of planes in consecutive summers in 1938 and 1939, they may not have known the historical or geographical significance of their images, but visitors to this digital collection will. The 61 aerial photos in this collection were taken as part of a forest and soil survey.  The original 9" x 7" versions of these aerial photos are the earliest aerial photographs of Nevada housed in the files of the Information Office of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno. The NBMG Collection includes several hundred thousand aerial photos dating from 1938 to the present. Dr. David Dickason, chairperson of the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University, helps us put the historic and geographic significance of historic aerial photographs in perspective when he observed, "Today, aerial photography isn't a big deal, but back then these were considered very high tech and gave us views of the earth we had never seen before."