Delaware 1926 Aerial Photo Collection

John E Inkster

October 7, 2000


The US Army Air Corps was contracted by the Delaware State Transportation Agency to fly and photograph the entire state in the spring of 1926.

Details are scarce on if and where the original negatives are, but an incomplete collection of contact prints was scanned at 72 and 400 dots per inch (dpi). The photos found were used in planning construction projects, many of which were done through CCC efforts in the 30's.

This collection of images includes 533 photos in both a low and high-resolution form on a 2 CDROM set. The first CD contains images ranging from 2 - 999. The second CD contains the remainder. Images are stored on these CDROMs in folders based on a hundred-increment range. For example, photo 1995 is stored in the \1900s folder, and photo 2 would be stored in the \0000s folder. Lower resolution image file names include a "th" which indicates a thumb-nail shot. Note that image quality varies due to the source contact prints.

In addition, a photo index Arcview shape file showing the general extents of each photograph in a variety of map projections is available on each CDROM. Each polygon on the photo index has a data field called ID with the value representing the photo number.

The files were originally scanned in a TIF format, and the average size of a high-resolution image was 23 MB. These were converted to a JPG format that brought the image size down to 2 MB without suffering too much image degradation. The smaller file size is critical to deploying the images on the web.

This collection of images does not contain any georeferenced images. That is to say, when an image is loaded into most popular GIS packages it will not be positioned at the correct location of a particular coordinate system. This process is expensive and is done by myself on an as needed basis due to the complexity involved, but hopefully one day that information can be presented in that form.

To the left is a map showing the general extent of the coverage of the photos. A web page is currently under development to allow a user to point on a map and automatically load the thumb-nail image in a new web browser page. Alternatively, the image can be downloaded for later use.

This project was completely privately funded and not under any contractual or legal arrangements. My sincere thanks go to the individuals who provided me the opportunity to spend the hours and hours of scanning these important references to Delaware history. In addition, I would like to thank Dr. John McKensie of the University of Delaware for his support, technical expertise and digital real estate for storing the images on the web. And most of all I would like to thank my wife Esther for her patience and support.

 As a final note, the digital ortho photos for the years 1992 and 1997 are available through the University of Delaware SpatLab site. To my knowledge, there are historical photos for each county for the late 1930's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's and are only going to disappear or deteriorate in the future. These old photos need to be scanned for web deployment, yet the role and at what level of state government is unclear as to who should take the responsibility to build this data. Contact your state legislator and let him/her know about this site and the need to develop a plan to preserve and provide these important pieces of Delaware history. These photos should be available for everyone, and in my opinion the web is the way to go.


The photos, if I can keep a site secured for them, are intended to be accessible on the web, but the 2 CDROM set can be made available by contacting, John E Inkster, 10 Schaeffer Lane, Lewes, DE 19958 302-645-1919.


Enjoy the photos…

John E Inkster



Below are a few links to the images that might be of interest and the Arcview photo index files.

CDROM #1 Links

0800s\886TH.JPG - Pea Patch Island, New Castle County

0800s\845TH.JPG - Reedy Point and mouth of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, New Castle County

0800s\892TH.JPG - Future site of large industrial complex - East of Wrangle Hill and West of Delaware City, New Castle County

0800s\882TH.JPG - Delaware City, New Castle County

0400s\473TH.JPG - Legislative Complex in Dover, East

0400s\475TH.JPG - Legislative Complex in Dover, South

0500s\513TH.JPG - West of Legislative Complex in Dover, West

0500s\514TH.JPG - South of Legislative Complex in Dover, South

0400s\410TH.JPG - Future Site of Dover Downs and the Dover Mall - Dover, Kent County

0500s\541TH.JPG - Camden, Kent County

0400s\441TH.JPG - Hartley, Kent County

0200s\235TH.JPG - Woodland Beach, Kent County


CDROM #2 Links

1200s\1215TH.JPG - Delaware River at border of PA, NJ and DE, New Castle County

1100s\1151TH.JPG - Bellefonte, New Castle County

2700s\2722TH.JPG - White Clay Creek and Christina River SW of Newport, New Castle County

1400s\1490TH.JPG - Mispillion Light - Cedar Beach, Kent-Sussex County

1500s\1545TH.JPG - Milford, Kent-Sussex County

1500s\1547TH.JPG - McColley Farm east of Milford, Kent-Sussex County

1500s\1544TH.JPG - Future Site of Mosquito Control Field Shack, Milford, Kent County

1900s\1909TH.JPG - Milton, Sussex County

2800s\2871TH.JPG - Broad Kill Beach - Prime Hook, Sussex County

2800s\2870TH.JPG - Beach Plum Island & Broad Kill Beach old inlet to Delaware Bay for Broad Kill River - Broad Kill, Sussex County

1800s\1893TH.JPG - Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, Sussex County

2000s\2036TH.JPG - Cape Henlopen at a funky angle, Sussex County

2800s\2863TH.JPG - The old orchard of "Old Orchard" Road near Five Points - Lewes, Sussex County

1800s\1898TH.JPG - Lewes, Sussex County

1900s\1990TH.JPG - Rehoboth Beach, Sussex County

2000s\2039TH.JPG - Dewey Beach and Silver Lake, Sussex County

2300s\2302TH.JPG - Future Site of the Indian River Inlet, Sussex County

2400s\2403TH.JPG - Bethany Beach, Sussex County

2300s\2306TH.JPG - James Farm - Pasture Point, Sussex County

2500s\2594TH.JPG - Fenwick Island Lighthouse with no Ocean City Traffic, Sussex County

2400s\2415TH.JPG - Dagsboro, Sussex County




The following zip files contain the photo index Arcview shape file for a variety of projections: - DE State Plane Coordinates, NAD83 feet - DE State Plane Coordinates, NAD83 meters - UTM, Zone 18, NAD83 meters - Geographic Coordinates (Lat, Lon)


1926invntry.xls - A spreadsheet that documents a portion of the scanning procedure, as well as a geographical database for the 1926 and corresponding 1936 flight.