Good-bye Chaffey, Hello Frankish

After months of creating metadata for the Chaffey brothers, I am finally done uploading the Chaffey letters to the digital library! This is an exciting moment because now researchers can access all of the letters in our collection online. I have written blog posts before about the various historical narratives that can be gleaned from these narratives, and I hope others find that to be true the next time they visit the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. It seems odd that I have read almost every Chaffey letter in our collection and now I am done. There are no more Chaffey letters left for me to read.

Now I turn to Charles Frankish and the large collection of letters from him that we have in our collection. After the Chaffey brothers established Ontario, California they moved to Australia to start a new colony based on the success of the Ontario colony. They left Ontario in the hands of Charles Frankish who continued to develop the city. Creating metadata for Charles Frankish is much easier given the context I have from the Chaffey brothers' letters. Charles Frankish had to respond to many of the same issues that the Chaffey brothers dealt with. However, new plans were also being made as the city grew rapidly.

For example, several letters from 1887 refer to an electric railway being constructed along an eight-mile strip of Euclid Avenue. It's fascinating to read the letters in chronological order because I feel like I am watching a city being built. It's even more interesting because I have been to Ontario, and can think back to what changes the city has gone through to get from the small settlement founded by the Chaffeys and developed by Charles Frankish to the modern city we can visit today.