We just added a scarce, early printing of a map showing the recently completed Trans-Continental Railroad, or the combined Union and Central Pacific Railroads, to our ever-growing map inventory. The map, a wood block engraving, was published by the California Mail Bag on August 1, 1871, just shortly after the driving of the “Golden Spike” in 1869.
The map shows an area from Chicago to San Francisco and from Madison, Wisconsin southward to Cairo, Illinois. It also notes the Utah Central Railroad, Ogden to Salt Lake City; Denver Pacific Railroad, Cheyenne to Denver; Kansas Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad, Oregon Division.
The map is surrounded by 24 illustrations of various scenes of California and Nevada, including views of Cape Horn, the Sierras, Anderson Valley, as well as mining scenes and illustrations of the railroad tracks and tunnels. A number of the illustrations are based on photographs by 19th century artist Carleton Watkins.
On the verso are timetables, as well as advertisements for stage and maritime shipping lines. Also shown on the verso is small map entitled “Map of the Rail & State Route to Big Tree Groves and Yosemite.”
This would make a great addition to any map collection, whether you’re a railroad buff, interested in our nation’s westward expansion, or a collector of 19th century woodblock maps.