A couple years ago, Larry found a list of plat maps of almost every little village that existed in Bohemia. The drawings were/are very clear, very precise, and all the houses are numbered as they were when our Heschs lived there. The problem was that OUR villages weren't there--but now, they are! (And no, it wasn't me who kept checking back--gawd, we owe Larry!)
A quick digression here: I read something lately that really seems true: it was the idea that in Europe, it's always been very important that things stay the same--buildings are preserved even if the ceilings are low; professions and homes are handed down from father to son; businesses and farms stay the same size; traditions are venerated and observed; OLD equals GOOD.
By contrast, America seems to need change--everything has to be faster, and bigger and better; you can be anything you want except what your dad was; buildings can be built or razed with impunity and the next new idea. A "tradition" in America might be only a generation old. NEW & BIGGER equals GOOD.
So, what does that have to do with the plat maps? We were struck with how unchanged Niedermuhl and Oberschlagles are physically. Of course, no one uses the German names now--they are Dolni Zdar and Horni Lhota--but there's no question which villages you're looking at when you compare the plat map from 183 years ago with aerial photographs from today. Take for instance, the mill on the river in each town:
The maps are especially interesting because they show exactly how a mill worked. A boom was built in the river to divert most of the water into the mill race. Niedermuhl had an island (or a ditch was dug around that chunk of land). Hmm, looks like there was an island in Oberschlag too, but it looks more man-made on the map.
The mill in Dolni Zdar (Niedermuhl) is being restored, maybe like it'll be a museum or tourist attraction. It's interesting to me that so much of the "works" are still there, in the river.
(America had thousands of mills, but there's little evidence of them in rivers any longer. Many of them burned, or were washed away when flooding brought water AND logs. Most were never re-built).
BTW, here's how close these two villages were/are. See the bridge in Horni Lhota? Johann and Marya Hesch lived just south of it, facing the river. That's the house they left in 1860 to go to America.
THANK YOU, LARRY ☺