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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Downtown Huntsville used to be the home of a thriving Black Business District. So, the Huntsville Madison County Public Library is piecing that history together through photographs.

What started as a Black History Month project has continued as the library told News 19 there is still a lot to uncover.

The process involves overlaying a historic image on an image of the building that currently stands in the same location. The goal is to help close the knowledge gap about what Huntsville used to look like versus what it looks like today.

Heather Adkins, the manager of the library’s Special Collections, talked to News 19 about the process that goes into each photograph. “It takes a magnifying glass or very high resolution images, we’ve done both, basically looking in store windows to see what does that window say, what does that door say, what does that sign say?” Adkins explained.

Adkins added the project is a new way too look into history. “I think it’s nice to be able to look at photos and stroll down memory lane that way,” Adkins explained. “It’s one thing to walk down the street and see a historical marker for a historic black business and a completely other thing to hold up a photo and say oh that’s what this looked like and that is what is no longer here. It is a different way of piecing together history.”

You can see the photos they have already found here. If you believe you may have a photograph of a building once in the Black Business District you can email the Special Collections department at specialcollections@hmcpl.org.