Final Project Stage 1

Over time, what roles and forms has Forest Park in St. Louis, which was originally used for the 1904 World’s Fair, taken? How has the city invested in it, and how have people used it? What factors influenced those things?

I’d like to research Forest Park from when it was first built up until today, tracking the evolution of both the park itself and the surrounding areas. I’m interested mainly in how the park has been used, perceived, and curated, but am also open to considering how the park exists in the memory of those who live in the city. I grew up in St. Louis and heard a lot about the legacy of the World’s Fair, but not much about the park in between 1904 and today. Few of the original buildings are still there, but the park still functions as a sort of center for arts and culture, housing the art museum, history museum, the zoo, and the Muny, a large outdoor theater. At the same time, it’s a large nature space in the middle of the city, with water features and even hiking trails through more loosely maintained natural areas. I haven’t narrowed down what dynamics I’d like to focus on, specifically, but I think these questions will be a good starting point for my research.

Stage No. 1

Leah R. Keith

What did Creighton University look like in the 1950’s and what transformations took place on this hill in the following 20 years?

In a time when dramatic changes in the infrastructure of Omaha was taking place, how was Creighton and the neighborhoods surrounding it impacted? What changes were made to accomodate these changes on campus and what was sacrificed for the sake of the future?

Emma Reed, Stage 1

What are the spatial patterns of immigration influx into major cities over the past decade, and how do these patterns correlate with factors such as economic opportunities, cultural diversity, and policy frameworks?

Over the last few decades, we have witnessed increased global migration patterns, with major cities emerging as a primary destination for immigrants seeking economic, educational, or social opportunities. This has reshaped the demographic composition of urban areas. Understanding the spatial dynamics of immigration has become an important area of study. By examining the distribution of immigrant populations across major cities and their surrounding regions, we can dive into these patterns, such as economic opportunity, cultural diversity, and governmental policies. This is an attempt to not only map the spatial dimensions of immigration but also look at the multifaceted interactions between migrants and their new environments.

Stage 1

To me, Strawberry Hill in Kansas City wasn’t just the place where Povatica came from, it was just home. I never lived in the neighborhood but was constantly visiting family members and getting well acquainted with the people and businesses that keep the area bumping. Only in recent years have I found out about my family’s rich connection to the area and the neighborhood’s Eastern European roots.

My research question looks into the effects of Eastern European immigration on Kansas City. How did Eastern European immigration impact the social, economic, and cultural development of the Kansas City area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? I will look at the population density of certain Eastern European groups and how they relate to different variables like property value, average income, and employment that indicate community development.

Erin Buglewicz, FinaƂ Project – Stage 1: Research Question

How has development in and around Hinkley, California been affected by PG&E’s groundwater contamination scandal, particularly in terms of property values and population density?

In 1996, Erin Brockovich, a legal clerk working for Ed Masry, helped win the largest direct-action lawsuit in U.S. history at the time by reaching a settlement of $333 million in damages for 634 plaintiffs. This case was against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), which had been poisoning groundwater in the small town of Hinkley, California. Starting in 1952, PG&E began dumping wastewater into unlined pounds. This water was laced with hexavalent chromium, a harmful chemical used in the company’s gas cooling towers, and it spread into the town’s groundwater. As a result, the drinking water was contaminated, causing residents to suffer from cancer, infertility, and other severe illnesses.

However, despite winning the case against PG&E, contaminated groundwater in Hinkley remained an issue. To explore how this water contamination scandal has affected the town, several questions can be addressed. For instance, where do groundwater sources still contain hexavalent chromium? Has the presence of this chemical spread further in the years following the landmark case? What measures were put in place to prevent contamination? In addition to acquiring data, researching questions like these will help to map how property values and population density in the area have been significantly impacted by contaminated water. By mapping changes in these variables within and around Hinkley, this project will serve as a case study to demonstrate the general impact that contaminated drinking water has on communities.


Esquivel, Paloma. “15 Years after ‘Erin Brockovich,’ Town Still Fearful of Polluted Water.” Los Angeles Times, April, 13, 2015.

Friedman, Ann. “Erin Brockovich.” The Gentlewoman, 2016.

Morales, Efrain Miguel. “Water Crisis Hinkley CA.” Medium, May 15, 2018.

Stage 1

How did different burrows of New York City serve as a Hub for Immigrants in the Early 20th Century?

The early 20th century witnessed significant waves of immigration in many urban areas, and New York City was no exception. A melting pot of cultures, the city became a destination for people seeking new opportunities and a new life. This question goes into the historical context of immigration during this period, tracing the patterns of settlement in New York City and exploring how various immigrant groups shaped the character of different neighborhoods or burrows.

This question focuses on the historical migration patterns in NYC during the early 20th century, investigating the city’s role as a hub for immigrants. What different factors attracted immigrants to certain parts of the city? How did different settlement patterns change the culture of the different burrows? I look to understand the impact of migration on the city’s social aspects.

Stage 1 – Michael Lau

Asbestos is a long fiber like mineral that was used for its fire-resistant properties. It was used in a wide variety of industries, from shipbuilding to paint. Entire towns were formed to mine it, like Val-des-Sources, formerly known as Asbestos, Quebec. This mineral was widespread in absolutely anything that needed to be fire or heat-resistant. Unfortunately, with the degradation of the material, short microscopic fibers would be released into the air, which, when inhaled, may puncture the lungs or cause infection. This degradation may also be planned, such as when you are manufacturing with it. During the 1970s, the United States government started to put regulations on the use of Asbestos and its products. 10 years after the fact is when Asbestosis, the condition where you inhale asbestos, typically starts occurring.

To what extent did the United States’, public policy on asbestos, curb its spread throughout the country in 1980? How was this contraction in usage affect the mining towns for asbestos? What communities were affected by asbestos products the most? I aim to cover the continental United States, with a few forays into the contraction of the Canadian Asbestos industry. I will be focusing on Asbestiosis diagnosis, the price of asbestos during the time, asbestos use in industry (with location, if possible), and the regulatory practices of the time. This data will be replicated using 1970 data if possible and 1990 as well, to track the change in data as public policy changes.

Declan Dunham: Stage 1

How did the geographic discoveries of Lewis and Clark’s expedition increase the American Economy in the newly purchased territory?

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased a vastly large plot of land from Napoleon of France. Jefferson saw the economic and scientific potential of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory. After a year of preparation, he sent Meriweather Lewis and William Clark to explore this unfamiliar piece of land. The Lewis and Clark expedition brought forth new ideas of science, geography, and commerce. During their journey along the Missouri River, Lewis, Clark, and the rest of the Corps of Discovery met with various Native American Tribes, made valuable observations of the land and rivers, and collected new species of the flora and fauna they encountered. During these Native American encounters, Lewis and Clark developed trade and diplomatic relations on behalf of Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. Government. They learned the customs and cultures of each tribe to enhance the strength of American Economy.

As a result, the discoveries of the Lewis and Clark expedition not only provided scientific knowledge but also an economic advantage. This expedition resulted in increased trade with Native American Tribes, as well as an increase in the fur trade. To expand this research, I would like to look at how the Lewis and Clark expedition increased settlement in the region that they explored. I would look at land purchases of the greater Omaha region. This includes Kansas City, Council Bluffs, and Sioux City, Iowa. I would also examine trade routes that were developed as a result of this expedition. This would include different river systems and trails. My goal for this project is to better understand Lewis and Clark’s impact on this region. Rightfully so, we often understand the Lewis and Clark expedition to be a heroic tale of bravery and adventure. However, this expedition has created a much bigger impact on American life than we may assume.


  • Ambrose, Stephen Edward. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2006.

Wyatt Greco Stage 1: Research Question

How have the demographics of the U.S. Rust Belt been affected by economic change in the region? For example, did the expansion of coal mining in West Virginia impact population density and GDP per capita in the state’s rural areas? Did the decline of Michigan’s automotive industry drive residents away from the area? How have the major natural and industrial resources of the Rust Belt impacted the region’s settlement patterns since the organization of the Northwest Territory? Ultimately, the goal of my project is to compare states, or sub-regions of states, on the basis of their primary (non-agricultural) economic products. I will map changes and continuities in industry over time, alongside basic data on population numbers and average household income (adjusted for inflation).

The states of study will be New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. This region of the United States has long been associated with manufacturing and mining (as opposed to the agriculture of the American South and West), with major historical products including steel, coal, and automotive goods. These products fueled the urban expansion and transportation revolutions of the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, the popular narrative contends that the Rust Belt’s economy is in decline as technology evolves and industry moves overseas. Starting from 1800, only about a decade after the Great Lakes region was officially organized for settlement with the Northwest Ordinance, I will trace the rise and supposed fall of manufacturing to discover if population and economic well-being are linked to the famous industries (or at least the most valuable and prolific industries) located in the Rust Belt states.


Jeff Wallenfeldt, “Rust Belt,” Encyclopedia Britannica, January 15, 2024,

Library of Congress, “Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900,” accessed February 28, 2024,

United States Census Bureau, “Economic Census,” accessed February 28, 2024,

Madeline King, Stage 1 – Population and Demographic Effect s on Schools in Omaha, Nebraska.

The question I will seek to answer in my final project is: How has the changing population and demographic of Omaha, Nebraska affected the opening and closing of schools (both public and private)?

The presence of compulsory education in the United States has roots tracing to the late 19th century in Massachusetts, however, it began to take its more modern form in the 20th century (particularly post World War II). Schools across the country have opened and closed when demand has changed. Since 1950, the population of Nebraska has increased by about 600,000 people, changing the demand for schools state-wide. Over half of this population growth has come from the Omaha Metro area, changing both population size and demographics. In class, we have discussed red lining, segregation, and other issues impacting access to equal resources. Has the population growth in Omaha impacted access to schools? Has the demographic changes in Omaha had any effect on this (race, religion, or age)? Does access to different schooling options (Public versus Private) change across areas in Omaha with different demographic populations (South Omaha, North Omaha, West Omaha)?

In 2024, Omaha has 63 private schools, many of which are religious (with about 17,000 students), and 179 public schools (with about 88,000 students). Omaha has a higher than-average population of K-12 students attending private schools than the rest of the state. How has the growing population contributed to adding schools in the area? Has a demographic change impacted the creation of public versus private schools differently? Where are the most public schools situated in the Omaha area? Where are most private schools situated in the Omaha area? Has this changed significantly in the 1950s? By mapping changes in population and demographics, as well as doing historical research on education provided in Omaha, I hope to be able to answer these questions.

Some Sources

Data USA. “Omaha, NE.” Accessed on Feb. 28, 2024.

Dwellics. “Beyond the Numbers: Understanding the Population of Omaha through Demographics.” Accessed on Fab. 28, 2024.

Private School and Public School Review. “The Top 10 Best Omaha Public/Private Schools (2024).” and Accessed on Feb. 28, 2024.

Yeben, Jade. “Compulsory Education Laws: Background.” FindLaw. Accessed on Feb. 28, 2024.