Cool Site of the Week: Small Town Noir

Seamus Bellamhy

The world of tech journalism has a wicked case of tunnel vision. We’re often so busy hunting for the next piece of hardware hotness or slick new start-up that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that while technology is often thought of as a gateway to the future, it can also serve as a vibrant doorway to the past. For this edition of Cool Site of the Week, we take a visit to the seedy end of memory lane with Small Town Noir .

Designed and maintained by Dairmid Mogg, Small Town Noir plays the part of time capsule for the lives of the residence of New Castle, Pennsylvania as seen through the lenses of a mug shot camera. Built upon the backbone of discarded police photographs from between 1930 and 1959, the website offers a rare glimpse into the lives of every day Americans from all walks of life who all share one thing in common: They were arrested for doing something stupid or illegal.

Thanks to Mogg’s meticulous research, the story behind each of the mug shots is brought to life. Women fighting with razor blades, public intoxication, car thieves and bank robbery: New Castle had it all. These are early 20th century stories so colorful that you won’t even noticed that the whole darn site is in black and white.

When you're finished walking the backstreets of New Castle, be sure to pay us a visit next Friday for the next edition of Cool Site of the Week.

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