Subject: Arial Maps question
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 14:16:42 -0400
From: "Sharon Speights Varnes" <>
Reply-To: <>
To: <>

Hi Bill!

I am curious about the Arial map
( How was it done? We
have a " 1884 Bird's Eye View of Palatka, Florida" similar to yours on
display at our library. I was told it was done by a balloonist with a
camera! A local Genealogist/ Historian/Speaker told me that he thought that
also but it actually was done by a group of Artists that went street by
street drawing, in great detail, all the buildings, etc. They were from
Wisconsin or maybe the maps were published there. Also, The Library of
Congress has a huge collection of these maps. Can you give help with more
"detailed info"?

Thank you for your wonderful web site. Unfortunately, I have never been to
Kansas! Your site is fascinating!

Take care,
Sharon Speights Varnes
Palatka, Florida


Doris, thanks for your note. I too was intrigued by how these arial maps were created. There were a few references in the early newspapers to balloons and those I have collected into a file on this site:
There was a mention of a balloon to appear in Emporia in 1869. Then a man was too hang by his toes, from a mile high balloon in Winfield in 1874. The next mention is September, 18, 1879.


It will be the largest baloon in the world, sixty-five feet in diameter and ninety feet in height. It is secured at a very large expense, and the proprietor will come with it from Chicago and superintend the ascension

The fair at which the balloon is to ascend is the fair to celebrate the coming of the railroad to Winfield on September 30, 1879. Somewhere I have an article after the fact, and they point out that the balloon was hauled in on the railroad. Any of the earlier balloons would have had to have been transported in by wagon, which would have been an adventure in the 1870's in Kansas.

It seems to me that the people involved in doing the maps were familiar with ariel photography, and may have used it some times to set general perspective and view. But the maps themselves were most likely hand drawn by artists, like your friend suggests. Another factor that supports this theory is that at least two of the houses in the map of Winfield had not been built yet, and are located in the wrong places on their respective lots.

These two houses are the Fuller house, and the McMullen house: (also see:
The Hiatt House)
Both houses are shown located in the center of their respective blocks, which they are not. Of interest, both of these houses were build from the same plans, one a mirror of the other. Porches and details were changed to make them look similar. They are supposed to be the first three story houses in this part of the country. The bricks were hauled in my wagon, but the one piece circular staircase with walnut rail was brought in by rail after Sept. 1879. I don't think either of these houses was finished when the map was made.

Another interesting note, these guys, Fuller and McMullen were partners in one of the more successful banks in town. Fuller had started the bank in 1871, when it was little more than a shed. See: Fuller's Bank Fuller's is the shed that says Bank. Next door to Fuller's Bank is Read's Bank, which was the first brick building in town in 1873. McMullen later sold his house to George W. Miller whose family lived there while he started the famous 101 Ranch just south of the state line in Oklahoma.

(from Jerry Wallace)

Ms. Varnes,

I suggest that you checked out the web page of the Prints & Photographs
Division of the Library of Congress:

I think you will find it interesting and informative. Also, below is
information on publications available on the subject of panoramic maps. I
hope this is helpful.

Jerry Wallace
Southwestern College
Winfield, Kansas

>From LC: "The preceding overview and this bibliography were adapted from
the introduction to Panoramic Maps of Cities in the United States and Canada
(2d ed., Washington: Library of Congress, 1984). The most comprehensive
discussion and listing of panoramic maps is found in John W. Reps, Views and
Viewmakers of Urban America: Lithographs of Towns and Cities in the United
States and Canada, Notes on the Artists and Publishers, and a Union Catalog
of their Work, 1825-1925 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1984).
Besides listing extensive bibliographic data for over 4,400 different views,
Reps provides background information about the compilation and business
production of these views, including a discussion of the number of views
published. He also provides biographical information about the individual

Beckman, Thomas. Milwaukee Illustrated: Panoramic and Bird's-Eye Views of a
Midwestern Metropolis, 1844-1908. Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Center, 1978.
Exhibition dates: April 14-June 18, 1978.

Canada. Public Archives. Bird's-Eye Views of Canadian Cites: An Exhibition
of Panoramic Maps (1865-1905), July to November 1976. Ottawa: Public
Archives of Canada, 1976.

Comstock, Jim, and Peter Wallace. West Virginia Picture Book. Richwood,
W.Va.: Jim Comstock, 1978. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, vol. 51.

Cummings, John W., comp. A Preliminary Checklist of 19th Century Lithographs
of Michigan Cities and Towns. Mount Pleasant, Mich.: Clarke Historical
Library, Central Michigan University, 1969.

"Early Views of Midwestern American Cities." Chicago Historical Society
Bulletin, 2d series, 2, (March 1936): 7-24.

Fornwalt, Russell J. "Bird's-Eye Views of America Collected by Virginia
Hobbyist." The Collector, Heyworth, Ill., August 1981, p. 3.

Hansen, Judith W., comp. Pennsylvania Prints: From the Collection of John C.
O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager: Lithographs, Engravings, Aquatints, and
Watercolors from "The Tavern Restaurant." University Park, Pa.: Museum of
Art, The Pennsylvania State University, 1980. Exhibition dates: January
13-March 30, 1980.

Hébert, John R. "Panoramic Maps of American Cities," Special Libraries, 63
(December 1972):554-562.

_______ "Western City Panoramic Maps." 1975. Unpublished article available
in the Geography and Map Division Pamphlet File.

Holzer, Harold. "Bird's-Eye Maps: Regional Chauvinism in Lithographs." The
Antique Trader (Weekly), July 20, 1977, pp. 40-44.

Kerfoot, Glenn. "Super Sleuth of the Bird's Eye Views." The Antique Trader
(Weekly), July 29, 1981, pp. 80-83. This article deals primarily with the
collecting of panoramic maps by Mr. James R. Warren, Sr.

Maryland Historical Society. A. Hoen on Stone: Lithographs of E. Weber & Co.
and A. Hoen & Co. 1835-1969. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1969.
Exhibition dates: May 5-June 30, 1969.

Marzio, Peter C. "American Lithographic Technology Before the Civil War."
Prints in and of America to 1850, edited by John D. Morse. Charlottesville,
Va.: University of Virginia Press for the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur
Museum, 1970.

_______ The Democratic Art: An Exhibition on the History of
Chromolithography in America 1840-1900. Fort Worth, Tex.: Amon Carter Museum
of Western Art, 1979. Exhibition dates: September 6-October 21, 1979.

Maule, Elizabeth Singer. Bird's Eye Views of Wisconsin Communities: A
Preliminary Checklist. Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin,

Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran &
Co., 1931.

_______ California on Stone. Garden City, N.Y.: Arno Press, 1935.

Reps, John W. Cities of the American West: A History of Frontier Urban
Planning. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979.

_______ Cities on Stone. Nineteenth Century Lithograph Images of the Urban
West. Fort Worth, Tex.: Amon Carter Museum, 1976.

_______ The Making of Urban America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 1965.

Stout, Leon J. "Pennsylvania Towns Views, 1850- 1922: A Union Catalogue."
The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, 58 (July 1975): 409-428;
58(October 1975): 546-571; 59 (January 1976): 88-109.

Warren, James R., Sr. "Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler, Bird's-eye View Artist."
Special Libraries Association, Geography and Map Division Bulletin, No. 120,
June 1980, pp. 27-35.

Warren, James R., Sr., and Donald A. Wise. "Two Bird's-eye View Artists: The
Bailey Brothers." Special Libraries Association, Geography and Map Division
Bulletin, No. 124, June 1981, pp. 20-30.

Watson, Douglas S. California in the Fifties: Fifty Views of Cities and
Mining Towns in California and the West, originally drawn on stone by Kuchel
& Dresel and other early San Francisco lithographers. San Francisco, Calif.:
John Howell, 1936.

Specific links to the Library of Congress Site on Panoramic Mapping

Panoramic Maps 1847 to 1920
Panoramic Mapping, A Popular View of Victorian America Cities and Towns
American Panoramic Artists and Publishers
Panoramic Maps Bibliography

Of interest is that the Winfield, Kansas map of 1878 is NOT in the Library of Congress Collection

Jerry, this is very interesting. What you're saying is that these maps were drawn by directly scratching the surface of a
lithographic stone with a sharp instrument and that some of these stones are at the Library of Congress? Do you have
any insight as to the production process? I would guess that the color on the prints was a color was added after
the printing process. Were the stones prepared at the sites, or were drawings made in the field and then brought back
to a central facility for engraving?

After looking at the tree main articles on the Library of Congress site, most of my questions have been answered.
But some are not. Where was the engraving done? T. M. Fowler's biography implies that he was on the road and
away from home for long periods of time. Also it implied that he did everything, publicity, sales, art work and
publishing. If he actually printed the maps locally that would imply that some of the stone lithographs would still
be located in the site of origin. What about the color in 1878. If printed locally, then the only practical method would
be hand tinting.

Are any of these questions answered by the back of the print of the map? That is why I added Rex Flottman to
this circulation. Rex took the picture and may have looked at the back. Did you look Rex? Can someone else look?

Again, thanks to SharonVarnes for a wonderful question!

The original source file shows that the picture is marked "DRAWN BY D. D. MORSE"
Bill Bottorff 7/2/01

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