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Bird's Eye View Maps

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Bird’s eye view or panoramic maps were popular in the 19th century in Canada and the United States. The maps or images were usually of a town or city and drawn at low oblique angles. “Most panoramic maps were published independently, not as plates in an atlas or in a descriptive geographical book. Preparation and sale of nineteenth-century panoramas were motivated by civic pride and the desire of the city fathers to encourage commercial growth. Many views were prepared for and endorsed by chambers of commerce and other civic organizations and were used as advertisements of a city's commercial and residential potential.”

The U.S. Library of Congress’ American Memory collection has a number of these panoramic images available for viewing online, most of cities and town in the United States but also some from Canada. The Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, also has 4 of these available online as part of an exhibit that runs from today until 28 May 2006. Each of these 4 panoramic maps is discussed in detail and compared to photographs of the community of the time when the images were created.

2 Responses to “Bird's Eye View Maps”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous 

    My great-grandfather, C.C. Maring, was one of the first lithographers in the Pacific Northwest and his firm, Maring & Ladd, created some of these "bird's eye view maps". I've got one of them framed showing the Bremerton navy yard and Mt Olympus, looking to the west (circa 1904). There are also engravings in the margins of Admiral Dewey roaring into Manila Harbor in the Spanish American War.

    I'm pretty sure that there are a couple more out there that he did.

    And on another note, Tom Thompson (of the Group of Seven?) worked at "Maring & Ladd as a pen artist and engraver".


  2. Anonymous Anonymous 

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