Tuesday, February 10, 2015

1857 US Coast Guard Map of the Chesapeake Bay

Today's feature is a nautical map from 1857.  Still looks fairly familiar around Patuxent where I spent a great deal of time during my graduate studies.

Source: http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/ChesapeakeBay3-uscs-1857

Monday, February 9, 2015

1915 Topography Map of Rockville and Surrounding Area

Below is a topography map from the early 1900s, which notes individual buildings.  It is somewhat amazing to consider how areas with a few farms now has hundreds of homes occupying the grounds.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Opening Day at Terrapin Park in 1914

One of my great loves is baseball.  The picture included today shows opening day at Baltimore's Terrapin Park in 1914 in from of a crowd numbering 30,000.  Across the street at Oriole Park, only 1,500 showed up for a Baltimore Orioles game that featured the pitching debut of a local 19 year old who had recently signed, George Herman Ruth.

source: BaseballHall.org

The Terrapins played in the Federal League, which tried to budge its way into the East Coast mix of minor league and major league clubs.  It folded after the 1915 season.  Terrapin Park was much nicer than the current Oriole Park, so the Orioles purchased the stadium as soon as the Terrapins were no more.  Rechristened as Oriole Park (the fifth of six incarnations), it would be home to the Orioles for the next 28 years before burning down.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

1878 Map of Montgomery County

This map already shows a great deal of transition in the region in terms of place names.  For instance, if we look at the initial tract of land granted to Ralph Crabb (Crabb's Branch) in 1723, we have an area containing 470 acres.  This tract was known as Deer Park and contained an old American Indian path running North and South.  This path was slowly modernized into what became known as Frederick Road.

Cracklinburg, still seen as the name of the town in this map, turned into Laytonsville, which is noted here as the name of the Post Office.  It was not uncommon for places to have multiple names according to the interests of the individuals naming the area.  Typically, interests that alligned with post offices tend to win out. 

However, that was not the case with Gaithersburg.  The area was known as Log Town in the 1700s.  Around 1802, Benjamin Gaither established himself in Log Town and began to build up his sphere of influence.  Informally, the area became known as Gaitherburg.  The Post Office established in 1851 ignored this designation and referred to itself as Forest Oak PO with respect to the large tree located next to Gaither's store.  By 1878, it appears that this issue was resolved with the area cementing itself as Gaithersburg (now with an S). 

Another interesting part of that track of land would be the development of the southern end.  When the Clopper family moved in, they wound up being major proponents of the B&O Railroad.  A station was needed between Rockville and Gaithersburg.  That station was located in an area previously known as Deer Woods, but transitioned to a more vernacular pronunciation, Derwood.  In this map, we see it as Derwood Station.  As trains became more advanced and the automobile became more prominent, Derwood Station was used less and less as a way point.  Eventually, a fire at the Scwatrz' mill wound up destroying the station.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

At the beginning of European Settlement

The aims of this blog are none too lofty.  It simply acts as a repository of maps and photographs of the Mid-Atlantic that I find interesting, making it less of a chore to track them down in the future.  The focus will certainly be on Maryland, but my focus will drift at times. 

A good place to begin with any study of Mid-Atlantic maps would be the Nova Virginiae Tabula.  Hondius published this document in 1630.  John Smith's 1612 maps provided a great basis for this work.  Scores of forgotten place names, villages, towns, and American Indian are scattered across the region and, perhaps, provide us with some reflection about how much European settlement altered this country. 

Although hundreds had settled down in Virginia by the time this document was published (including my own family line in 1619, the Woodsons), it proved to be one of the most important maps for this seemingly new world, stoking great interest in American colonization.

source: http://www.geographicus.com/mm5/cartographers/hondius.txt
What I enjoy about older maps are the curious renderings on the map.  For instance, the map makers decided to make the Eastern Shore quite mountainous when it is anything but.  I recognize that the task is quite great for an individual who has never seen these lands to create a map like this.  However, how wondrous and terrifying it must have been for colonists and explorers who ventured into these lands with only maps like this to help with navigating.