Our lives are filled with stuff. But certain items—keys to a first car, a wedding ring, a pair of baby shoes—stand out among the detritus for their symbolic weight and transformative power. Same goes for the story of a city. From ancient shells to moonshine stills to Microsoft Windows, these 25 objects embody the stories of this place, its darkest days and greatest triumphs. Think of these artifacts—all drawn from local collections or still in use—as mileposts that show just how far we’ve come and launch pads for where we might go next. —Bess Lovejoy

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