A window in time

Pam Marlin, a graduate program assistant for the physics department, created the project "UF Then and Now." She was inspired by an online project that showed World War II photos over their present-day locations.

Photo courtesy of Pam Marlin

A family photo project is giving viewers a snapshot of UF's campus in the mid-twentieth century.

Pam Marlin, a graduate program assistant for the physics department, created the project, called "UF Then and Now."

Marlin, 44, got the idea from another online project that showed World War II photos held over their contemporary locations. She decided to expand the concept to UF.

A photo from the 1950s shows a boy on the corner of Southwest 13th Street and University Avenue, where an information sign in the background welcomes visitors to the campus. The corner still exists today, but the entrance sign has been removed.

"The landscaping has changed, and some of the buildings have changed, but the people haven't changed," Marlin said.

The photographs came from the UF Digital Collections, which hosts more than 300 documents, photographs and maps online. When deciding what UF images to include in her project, Marlin chose photos of locations with personal meaning. Those buildings include Newell Hall, where she once worked, and University Auditorium, where she used to play with the jazz band in college.

She also chose popular locations such as the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the Reitz Union.

"It was a family effort," Marlin said. "My children are students here and they had some choices as well."

In total, there are 19 photographs. Over the course of four weekends, Marlin and her husband, Derrius, along with her son, Justin, and daughter, Lizzie, went around campus and lined up each photo to its present-day counterpart.

Each photograph took about an hour to complete, Marlin said.

"You have to hold up the photo with one hand and have the camera in your other hand," Marlin said. "My husband and son took the photos because I moved too much."

Of all the photos that are part of the project, she said her favorites include one that captured four girls sitting in a car in front of the Smathers Library at its completion in 1926, and another of a young boy selling soda at a Gators football game in 1960.

"When I was standing there, it was as if the little boy was there," Marlin said. "It was weird in a way."

Response to the photography project has been overwhelming, Marlin said.

As for the future, the UF Foundation will continue to expand the website and may develop the photographs into a calendar.

An official from the UF Foundation was not available to comment.

The then-and-now photos show UF's timeless goal to improve and expand.

"They did have the goal to expand the university and make it a bigger place," Marlin said. "All that is alive and well in the people here today."

View the project online at dmarlin.com.