Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Built in America

[Detail] Coos Bay Bridge, North Bend, Oregon.

Creative Writing

All of the buildings and structures in these collections have a story to tell about the nation’s past. Write a scene in a play, an entire play, or a short story exploring the significance of one of the places featured in these collections. Browse the Subject Index to select a location. You may choose an anonymous setting, such as a mine during the California Gold Rush, or a slave cabin, or a famous setting such as Abraham Lincoln's birthplace, Thomas Edison's mansion, or the White House.

Use the elements of your play or narrative to explore the role of place in shaping the lives of the people who lived there and the events that took place in it. Also consider how the place reflects a certain historical era. Keep the following questions in mind:

  • When was the building constructed?
  • Who lived and/or worked in the building?
  • How is the building a reflection of the era in which it was created?
  • Did the building play a role in the events of that era?
  • How might characters and events change in another setting?