Deeper Roots Genealogy

~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~

how much is that?

The tourists leave DC around the time school starts, which means that going downtown on a Saturday becomes something doable again for those of us living here.  It’s quite impressive with all the towering monumental structures in their white marble.  As I took a break in the shade next to – yes, you guessed it, the National Archives! – I wondered how much it would have cost to build those same structures today.

penniesOne of my favorite websites is Measuring Worth – Relative Value of the U.S. Dollar.  In addition to calculating worth of the dollar from the 1774, it provides 7 different ways to conceptualize the difference.  Perhaps the purchasing power of $12 in 1800 is what you need to know.  Or maybe the economic status associated with an amount like $400 in 1860.  Maybe you want to know how big of a business investment $50 was in 1920.  The site also has some great examples of how these different conceptualizations work: George Washington’s salary, the cost of the Civil War, and Babe Ruth’s contract are broken down in very interesting ways.

I’m not a numbers person, but the relative value of things is really important in building context for our ancestors, and making their realities accessible to us.  This is a fabulous tool to help you do that.

So how much would it cost to build the National Archives today?  It cost $8.5 million in the 1920s.  The purchasing power of that today would be $110 million, and the economy cost (relative importance of the item to society as a whole) would be $1.38 billion.


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This entry was posted on 27 August 13 by in Tools n Tips and tagged , , , .



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