I'm sure most of you are familiar with the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -- http://archive.org/web/web.php -- which takes "snapshots" of websites from the past. I've just spent a couple of hours reading Chowhound posts from 1998-2002 (unfortunately, none of the 1997 Chowhound posts seemed to be archived -- the earliest I can find are from January 28, 1998).
For those of you who weren't here in the early days of Chowhound, you'll notice how New York-centric we were, with the only American regional boards outside of the tri-state area all lumped together under "Elsewhere in America." I do remember that because of the fewer boards, I stumbled onto valuable posts I might not have read today if it were in a board that I don't usually frequent. And I "met" some of my favorite posters this way. Volume was small enough so that I usually read all the boards. Here's the way the board index looked in 1998: http://web.archive.org/web/1998012813... The links usually work, and you can see how frequently Jim Leff posted then.
For oldtimers, you can look at old posts and immediately conjure up memories. I found my first ever post about Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas (and my inarticulate ramblings after eating at LOS eleven times in one vacation), debates with Jonathan Gold about L.A. food, the shock of 9/11, and many opinions that I would retract today.
Put chowhound.com in the main search engine of Wayback and you'll see a calendar. Click on it and you'll see the splash page, just the way a newbie would have 15 years ago. Great fun.
Updated 2 years ago | 64
Updated 11 months ago | 13
Updated 30 days ago | 6
Updated 5 months ago | 48
Updated 3 days ago | 7