From Hiawatha to Garden City, Topeka to Wichita, Monroe and Jean Dodd have traversed Kansas in recent months to chronicle decades of change for their new book Kansas Then and Now.
They will present their collection of before-and-after photos (some separated by 150 years) on Friday, April 25, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
In recent years Monroe Dodd has authored three volumes of Kansas City Then and Now.The format is straightforward: Take an old photograph, find that location today, and take a new photo from precisely the same spot. It's a way of seeing how our landscapes have changed
While their "now" photos taken in urban areas reflect how cities have grown, Dodd says in many instances he and his wife found themselves contemplating loss.
"It's kind of disheartening to find a great old photo of a building and realize that now the site is just a grassy lot," Dodd says. "That was the case with the first Kansas City Stockyards Building from 1876, which was built on the Kansas side of the state line. Now there's nothing there."
Most libraries or city halls in small Kansas towns have photos taken in the early part of the 20th century by a photographer who set up his camera in the middle of the main drag, Dodd says. Today many of those towns barely exist.
"Most peaked in the 1920s and '30s. And then radio, highways, TV came along. The outside world beckoned and these towns started to shrink."
The oldest photo in Kansas Then and Now was of Massachusetts Street in Lawrence from the 1850s. "It's kind of reassuring to know there's always been a hotel where the Eldridge House now sits," Dodd says.
Monroe Dodd is a former editor at The Kansas City Star. Jean Dodd is a former graphic design editor at The Star and is now an architect working with the General Services Administration.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
This event is co-sponsored by Kansas City Star Books.