When I was eighteen and in my senior year of high school, the local government tore down a 180-year-old home in my home town.
Being a mostly ignorant and oblivious high schooler, the destruction of the William B. Dunlap Mansion barely hit my radar. I remember I was sad that they were demolishing a cool old house (that I may or may not have illicitly seen the inside of years previously), but I had other things on my mind and I hadn’t dedicated any brain space to the Dunlap Mansion in years. They tore down the house in January and I don’t think I even realized until a couple weeks later.
Now, however, Dunlap has been on my mind. I have a different project in the works involving memory and digital reconstruction, but I need practice in the necessary skills as well as an opportunity to experiment before concretely deciding what I want to do. I realized I would need a test subject, one that was historical in nature and that didn’t physically exist anymore. Naturally, the Dunlap Mansion is the perfect subject.
The Dunlap Project is going to be a relatively small-scale digital reconstruction project. I plan to draw on digital and local resources to assemble a history of the three-story brick house that occupied 1298 Market Street in Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, and utilize the open-source softwares Blender and Unity to digitally reconstruct the house and property as it appeared in 2017. All the while I plan to blog about my experiences and the inevitable trial and error as I figure out a suitable process for reconstruction. It is my hope that by the conclusion of this project I will have an explorable digital copy of the William B. Dunlap Mansion and the bones of a methodology for historical digital reconstruction.
As of right now, I will maintain a page on my website discussing the project that will be updated intermittently as I assemble more of a structure and build up a repository of research. These blog posts will all be tagged with #dunlapproject.
I’m excited to start this journey to reconstruct the past in the present, and to resurrect an old brick friend from my childhood.