I have been thinking about writing up a location in Phoenix for Deadlands since I saw an image of the original Hotel Adams in the Phoenix, Arizona Historical Images Google+ feed. I thought it was an interesting building architecturally, but I didn’t know anything about it other than it burned down in 1910. So I started trying to look up information on it and I ended up finding two sites that would be useful for anyone researching historical events to incorporate into a scenario.
The first one I found is a site covering disasters in the United States. It is called GenDisasters.com. It is where I found out what I know about the destruction of the Hotel Adams, but it also gives you the ability to search for disasters by year, state, or type of disaster. The site is primarily at least according to the footer, a genealogy site, but from the little I have looked at it, it looks like it could provide interesting events to mine for plot ideas.
The other site I found while looking for more information on the history of the Hotel Adams, and Phoenix in general in old newspapers. The site is Chronicling America and is a searchable archive of newspaper images from 1836 to 1922 that is searchable. It even has an API for doing searches which I found particularly interesting, and may have to look into later. The basic search functionality is okay if you have an idea of what you are looking for, but the servers that power the site seem woefully inadequate. The advanced search seems like it might be a better way to go about finding articles that cover interesting events, but it is still cool to see what the old newspapers looked like and read what they reported on. The Chronicling America site is part of the Library of Congress