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Antique Maps of Colorado

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Pikes Peak Gold Rush map
C.H. Deforrest, Jr.. "Map of the Gold Region with the Routes Thereto." From Harper's Weekly. New York, April 2, 1859. 4 1/8 x 7 3/8. Wood engraving by N. Orr. On full sheet with text, "How to get to Pike's Peak Gold Mines." Very good condition.

A nice example of the earliest generally available map of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. When gold was discovered in the autumn of 1858 in the western part of the Kansas Territory, along the Rocky Mountain foothills near what is today Denver, the news created a great stir in the settled parts of Kansas and Nebraska along the Missouri River, as well as further east. This led, in early 1859, to what became known as the "Pike's Peak Gold Rush," in which thousands of hopeful prospectors traveled from cities such as Omaha, Des Moines, St. Joseph, Lawrence, and Kansas City across the plains to the "gold fields." This rush inspired a number of Pike's Peak guides and maps, describing and illustrating the routes to take.

One of first such guides, issued in February, was Byers and Kellom's Hand Book to the Gold Fields of Nebraska and Kansas, which included a small map drawn by D.H. Deforrest Jr. and engraved on wood by N. Orr. This map shows the main northern (following the Platte River) and southern (following at first the Arkansas River) routes. At the time, there were two main gold rush towns, Auraria and Denver City (which were to merge as Denver in early 1860) on either side of Cherry Creek where it empties into the South Platte. The creek is shown on the map, as is Auraria, but there is no mention of Denver.

The map from the Byers and Kellom guide was reissued within two months in Harper's Weekly from the same block (of which this is a nice example). This example of the map is accompanied by an article on "How to get to Pike's Peak Gold Mines," which ends with the prophetic words, "From present appearances, the rush to Pike's Peak will be tremendous." The Deforrest map subsequently appeared in a number of issues the Rocky Mountain News, a paper founded by one of the authors of the original guide, William N. Byers, in April 1859. The map was also issued on a broadside. This is thus a very early example of a map which played a not insignificant role in the early dissemination of information about the gold rush. $375

Smith plains
"Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indian Territory, Dacotah. From Smith's New Geography, by Roswell C. Smith. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1860. 12 x 10. Lithograph. Original hand color. Light stain in right margin, just into border. Otherwise, very good condition.

An excellent map of the American plains just before the Civil War, one of the very few maps to show the Jefferson Territory. The year before this map was issued, the Pike's Peak gold rush brought thousands of prospectors and others to the front range in and around "Denver City" and "Auraria" (which are both shown on this map, issued the same year they were merged into one city). These settlers felt that the government of the Kansas Territory, in which they were located, was too distant and disinterested, so they formed a provisional government of a proposed territory of "Jefferson," sending a delegation to Congress to have the territory established. This government operated for a couple years, though it was never recognized by Congress, and it does appear on a very few maps issued at the time, including on this map.

Also of interest on this map is the information related to both the western emigration going on at the time and the Pike's Peak gold rush. Beginning in the 1850s, with the California gold rush and the acquisition of the lands from Mexico, it became obvious that a trans-continental railroad was needed, but there was no agreement over the route to be taken. This map shows five proposed routes, including essentially the one that was completed as the Union Pacific Railroad within the following decade. The map gives good detail on the rivers and Indian tribes through the area depicted, as well as the forts scattered from Forts Union and Benton in the north to Fort Towson just north of Texas. The layout of the mountains in the area was not that well known at the time, but an attempt to depict this is also made on this fine map. $375

Mitchell Plains 1860
"XVIII. Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico & Indian Territory." Philadelphia: S.A. Mitchell Sr., ca. 1860. 8 1/4 x 10 1/2. From Mitchell's School and Family Geography. Lithographic transfer from engraved plate. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A nice map of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and present day Oklahoma from after the Mexican American War. The Map shows the four states with the Texas panhandle and indicates the presence of a number of Indian tribes including the Cherokee, Kioways, Comanches, Creeks, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cheyenne & Arapahoes. The map depicts topographical information with clear precision, marking towns, rivers, roads and counties. $125

United States in 1861
"The United States 1861." From Our Whole County. Cincinnati: Henry Howe, 1861. 4 3/8 x 6 3/4. Wood engraving. Original hand color. Some smudging in margins. Else, very good condition.

An unusual map of the United States in 1861 from a uncommon account of the country early in the Civil War. The states of the Confederacy are shown in green, while those which supported the Union are shown in red. The territories are indicated in yellow. The capitals of each state is indicated, and rivers and some topography is shown. What is most interesting on this map is the very elongated shape of Colorado Territory, just created the year this map was made and with Denver City and Pike's Peak noted. Colorado was mostly taken from the eastern part of Utah and the western part of Kansas, the latter here shown in greatly truncated size. Colorado's eastern border is at 104 degrees west, but on this map it is put at approximately 100 degrees west! $75

W.H. Gamble. "Map of Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. Showing also The Southern portion of Dacotah." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1862. 11 1/2 x 14. Lithograph. Full original color. Very good condition.

This fine of the plains states is from the 1862 issue of S. Augustus Mitchell Jr.'s important atlas. The map shows the territories of Kansas and Nebraska shortly after they were reorganized into smaller borders, initially prompted by the creation of the territory of Colorado the year before this map was issued. Colorado was created in part from the western part of Kansas-which thus took on its current borders-and the southwestern part of Nebraska, which was further reduced in 1862 to that area south of the 43rd parallel. Then in 1862, Nebraska was made even smaller-to its current borders-by the loss of all the lands west of the 104th longitude line. That area was then "Attached to Dacotah," that territory covering almost all the northern plains. In this map, the eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska are shown fairly well settled, while to the west little settlement is evident, though information is given of topography and the location of Indian tribes. Colorado does show the "Gold Regions" and the early mining towns, including Auraria, Golden, and Central City. As the west was beginning to develop, the need for a trans-continental railroad became evident and Mitchell shows a number of the considered routes with dashed lines. One of these was quite close to the route which the railroad did take when completed about a decade later. This is a rare version of Mitchell's classic map of the "Wild West." $250

Northern Plains 1863
"Johnson's Nebraska, Dakota, Colorado, Idaho & Kansas." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1863. 12 3/4 x 15 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand coloring. Very good condition.

A detailed map of northern plain states (present-day Kansas, Nebraska,Colorado, the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana). This map shows a configuration of this region which lasted only for one year. In 1863,the eastern part of Washington Territory and the western part of Dakota Territory were broken off to form the Idaho Territory, encompassing what today is Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The next year the eastern part of this huge Idaho Territory, that shown here, was broken off to create the Montana Territory, with the southeastern part temporarily going back into the Dakota Territory. The detail in this map is most impressive, showing rivers, towns, forts, Indian tribes, and the early trails which criss-crossed this region. This map was issued during the Pike's Peak gold rush, so the four main routes to "Auroria" are shown, the distances of the northern and southern-most routes noted on the map. The gold rush towns of Auraria, Denver, and Montana are all shown, though the first two had by then merged into Denver. $250

Macomb four corners
F.W. von Egloffstein after surveys by John N. Macomb. "Map of Explorations and Surveys in New Mexico and Capt. J.N. Macomb Topl. Engrs...1860." New York: Geographical Institute, 1864. 30 3/4 x 37 1/4. Tinted aquatint engraving. Some separation and very light discoloration at folds. Overall, very good condition. Wheat: 983.

A nice example of what Carl Wheat called "one of the most beautiful maps ever published by the Army," a map that "is a landmark map for various regions." It shows the region around the "four corners" in the American Southwest, based on surveys from an 1860 expedition led by Captain John N. Macomb to explore the Old Spanish Trail from New Mexico towards Utah. The expedition is important in its confirmation that the Green and "Grand" (now Colorado) Rivers joined to form the Colorado just above the Grand Canyon. The map was printed in 1864, but didn't actually get published until 1875 because of the Civil War.

Wheat's comments on its importance is not only based on its geographical significance, but also because of its documentation of the routes of various explorer's routes, including Macomb's as well as those of Gunnison, Marcy, and Father Escalante and others. The last factor in Wheat's judgments is it striking appearance, where it looks almost three dimensional. This is the result of a technique of depicting topography developed by F.W. Egloffstein, where his intent was to "give his map the appearance of a small plaster model of the country." This was achieved by applying very fine lines on the plate by use of a ruling machine (done by Samuel Sartain), which were then exposed to acid to varying degrees to achieve the desired appearance. Only a few maps where made using this difficult process and this is the finest example thereof. The map is a wonderful depiction of the main drainage areas of the American Southwest, as well as many other features such as pueblos, archaeological sites and settlements, all conveyed with a remarkable appearance that few other maps have every matched. $1,800

Colorado and New Mexico
"J.H. Colton's Colorado and New Mexico." From Colton's Condensed Octavo Atlas of the Union. New York: J.H. Colton, 1864. 10 1/2 x 7 7/8. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

An unusual small map of Colorado and New Mexico by one of the leading map publishers of the middle of the nineteenth century, J.H. Colton. Colton's firm, out of New York, published folding and wall maps, and beginning in 1855, a series of folio atlases. Just after the Civil War, Colton issued his Octavo Atlas of the Union. The maps retained Colton's careful detail and attractive coloring. This map shows the major topographical features in the states, as well as towns and cities. Of particular interest are indications of the Pony Express Route into Denver, the "Explored Route for the Pacific R.R." running into New Mexico from the Canadian River, and the Cimarron branch of the Santa Fe Trail. $135

Colton Utah and Colorado
"Colton's Utah & Colorado." New York: G.W. & C.B. Colton, 1872. 12 3/4 x 15 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Some minor chips and tears at edges, but overall very good condition.

A rare map showing the territories of Utah and Colorado together, appearing only in a couple years of the Colton atlas. This map was issued shortly after Denver became connected by rail to the East and with the trans-continental railroad, the beginning of a period of considerable growth in Colorado. In 1870, Denver the Denver Pacific line was completed from Denver to Cheyenne, through which ran the Union Pacific Railroad. That same year, the Kansas Pacific completed their line from Kansas City to Denver across the Prairies. This map show both these lines, the trans-continental railroad, as well as the Denver & Rio Grande to Pueblo and then Canyon City and another line from Denver to Georgetown. The political depiction in the two territories is interesting. Utah has considerable development in the area around Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake, while most of the south east is broken into only four counties. Colorado has only two large counties in the northwest, Lake and Summit, which are characterized on the map as "Elevated plain, fertile, gently rolling with fresh water lakes and timber." Quite a bit of information is given for southern Wyoming, including Fort Laramie and the South Pass. A rare map for the collector or anyone interested in the history of the central Rockies. $285

H.G. Prout. "Preliminary Map of the Surveys in Colorado made on Reconnoissance in the Ute Country under the direction of 1st Lieut. E.H. Ruffner...By Assistant H.G. Prout, C.E. 1873." Washington, 1874. 19 3/8 x 25 1/4. Photo-Lithography by N. Peters. Some slight darkening to folds. Else, excellent condition.

Lieut. E.H. Ruffner, of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, led an expedition in 1873 into the Ute territory around San Luis Park of southern Colorado. The expedition was ordered by General Pope, who commanded the Department of the Platte because of tensions between the Uncompahgre Utes and the miners in the area around the headwaters of the San Juan River to the west of the Rio Grande basin. In 1868, the Utes had been granted a reservation in southwest Colorado, extending east as far as the 107 degree latitude, but miners soon were moving into the San Juan mining region in the southeastern part of the reservation, causing considerable friction. The Ruffner expedition was to ascertain the exact position of the reservation boundary, as well as to pay the country between there and the Arkansas River. This is an initial summary map of the results of the Ruffner party's surveys, drawn by H.G. Prout. It provides the first comprehensive and accurate survey of the south-central region of Colorado. The map presents the rivers and creeks in the area, the route of the expedition, and excellent detail of the mountains crossed by the survey teams. $600

1874 Northern Plains
"County Map of Colorado, Wyoming, Dakota Montana." Philadelphia: S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr., 1874. 19 1/2 x 14. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A later version of the Mitchell map of the northern plains states (cf. above), which is shifted slightly to the northwest, leaving off Kansas which appeared on the earlier version. The reason for that was the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. On the earlier map, the western parts of Wyoming and Montana (then almost totally unsettled) were not included, but this map shows as far as the headwaters of the Yellowstone River and includes a depiction of the new park. The map also shows the considerable development of Colorado, which was in the middle of the silver boom. New towns and railroads are depicted, providing a good picture of the territory just two years before statehood. $225

Hayden's Survey of Colorado

Maps and charts by F.V. Hayden. From Geological and Geographical Atlas of Colorado and portions of Adjacent Territory. Washington: 1877 Lithographs by J. Bien. Each ca 24 x 36. Some light damp stains on verso. Otherwise very good condition (except as noted).

F.V. Hayden was commissioned by the U.S. Government to map large parts of the American West. He and his team surveyed Colorado between 1873 and 1876, mapping all of the territory-including its immense mountainous regions-for the first time with accuracy and unparalleled detail. This resulted in his landmark Geological and Geographical Atlas first issued in 1877. This included a few general maps, a series of regional maps showing impressive detail of topography, drainage, railroads, roads and mineral resources, and some charts showing the geological strata of the state.

Bradley CO & UT
"County Map of Utah and Colorado." Philadelphia: W.M. Bradley & Bro., 1881. 8 x 11. Lithograph. Original color. Very good condition.

A neatly detailed map from the Philadelphia publishing firm of William M. Bradley & Bros. While Philadelphia was no longer the main center of cartographic publishing in North America by the late nineteenth century, many fine maps were still produced there, as is evidenced by this map. Topography, political information, towns, and physical features are all presented precisely and clearly. Particular focus is on the many railroads, which were essential in the development of these states. The Union Pacific, which ran across the southern part of Wyoming into Utah, is shows, including its connections to Denver and other Colorado locations. $125

Thayer Colorado
H.L. Thayer. "Thayer's Map of Colorado." Denver, CO: H.L. Thayer, 1882. Separately issued map on bank note paper, folding into original gold stamped covers. 24 1/2 x 28. Lithograph by J. Bien & Co. Original hand color. With some repaired separations at folds. Otherwise, very good condition and bright color.

The culminating map of Colorado from one of the earliest map publishers in Denver. Thayer, a Civil War veteran, established his map business in Denver in 1871. In 1876, he was in partnership with Frank P. Swindler (great name!) publishing maps and dealing in real estate, but by the end of the decade he was back on his own. He issued a series of maps of Colorado; the first was in 1871 and this is the last and most detailed. Based on the 1881 General Land Office map, this is, as Ellis says in Colorado Mapology, "a very good map," filled with copious details. The underlying information on rivers, towns, mountains and railroads is impressive and on top of this, Thayer shows the counties, Ute Reservation, military reservations, and the land office districts, outlined in blue. As a separately issued map, printed on bank note paper and folded into cloth covers, this map is as rare as it is historically fascinating. $3,800

Colorado 1883
"Colorado." From Cram's Unrivaled Family Atlas. Chicago: George F. Cram & Co., 1883. 9 1/2 x 12. Colored cerograph. Very good condition.

A colorful and detailed map of Colorado in the midst of its great silver boom. Colorado was originally developed as a result of the gold rush of 1859, but it was the silver boom which really put Colorado "on the map." Begun with the discovery of silver in Leadville in 1879, the boom lasted until 1893, when silver prices collapsed as a result of repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. The George Cram Company was an engraving and publishing firm from Chicago. In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of cartographic publishing was New York City, but in the 1880s this began to shift towards Chicago with the advent of the Rand, McNally and Cram firms. These firms were noted for their efficient output of precise maps (using the process of wax engraving or cerography) filled with useful and up-to-date political and cultural information, and details on roads, towns, railroads, and so forth. This map is typical of their work and provides an excellent view of the state at this crucial period in its history. $120

Colorado Railroad map
[Denver and Rio Grande Railroad System] From Ernest Ingersoll's Crest of the Continent. Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons, 1885. Colored cerograph. 14 x 17 1/2. Very good condition.

An early edition of an interesting railroad map of Colorado, eastern Utah, and a small part of New Mexico. The map, printed by Rand, McNally & Co., first appeared in 1883, showing lines in operation, lines under construction, projected lines (dotted lines), and stage roads. The map was reused, simply replacing the title with an image of the Alabaster Hall, for Ingersoll's guide to the Rocky Mountains. It shows the extensive railroad network extending from Denver, including a number of projected lines which were built in the following year. An inset map in the lower left shows how these railroads connect with lines heading to the mid-west and to California. Ref.: Modelski, Railroad Maps of the United States, 400. $275

Rand McNally Colorado ca. 1887
"Colorado." 13 x 19 1/4. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., ca. 1887. Cerograph. Full original color. Very good condition.

A colorful late nineteenth century map from the early days of the Rand, McNally & Co. firm out of Chicago, a company that would shift the center of cartographic publishing from the east coast to the mid-west. Typical of the firm's work, this map has very good detail, precisely and neatly exhibited. Social information, counties, roads, and much more is neatly illustrated. The firm is known for being able to depict copious data in a clear manner, and on this map that is well demonstrated by the depiction of the impressive topography of the state. Aesthetically and cartographically, it foreshadows the maps of the twentieth century. $150

Nell Colorado 1885
Louis Nell. "Nell's Topographical Map of the State of Colorado." Denver: Hamilton & Kendrick, 1895. Separately issued map, folded into original covers. 28 3/8 x 40 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. A few minor separations at folds. Very good condition. Denver.

Louis Nell's famous and important series of maps of Colorado, begun in 1880, were not only issued in Crofutt's Guide (cf. above), but also as separately issued maps folding into covers with an index. This is a nice example of one of those rare pocket maps, published in 1896 by Hamilton & Kendrick. According to this firm's blurb on the inside front cover, "This Map of Colorado has been compiled from all available surveys in existence, it is consequently the most complete and accurate one ever published, and shows all the information useful to settlers, miners and travelers." The amazing amount of geographical and topographical information includes mining camps, railroads, canals, roads and mountain trails. Also timber preserves, altitudes of mountains, passes, stations and myriad towns. This is a nice example of one of the seminal cartographic depictions of Colorado. $1,800

"Rand-McNally & Co.'s Indexed County and Township Pocket Map and Shippers' Guide of Colorado." Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1901. Separately issued folding map, with original booklet. 19 x 25 3/4. Cerograph with printed highlight color. Very good condition. Booklet with 43 pages of index and advertisements. Front cover with chip in top right corner; back cover with torn sections, but booklet otherwise good condition.

A map of Colorado from the beginning of the twentieth century, by the Rand, McNally & Co. firm primarily out of Chicago, a company that would shift the center of cartographic publishing from the east coast to the mid-west. This is a "pocket map" and guide meant to be sold to travelers. The map has impressive topographical and transportation detail, with emphasis on the many railroads in the state, each shown in red and with a key identifying them. Such folding maps had to be accurate and detailed as they were intended for use; that use also explaining why they are so scarce. The quality of this map demonstrates why the Rand, McNally & Co. firm would go on to become so successful. $275

Cram Colorado
"Colorado." Chicago: George F. Cram & Co., 1904. 13 3/8 x 19 3/4. Colored cerograph. Very good condition.

A colorful and detailed map of Colorado at the beginning of the twentieth century. The George Cram Company was an engraving and publishing firm from Chicago. In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of cartographic publishing was New York City, but in the 1880s this began to shift towards Chicago with the advent of the Rand, McNally and Cram firms. The Chicago firms were noted for their efficient output of precise maps (using the process of wax engraving or cerography) filled with useful and up-to-date political and cultural information, and details on roads, towns, railroads, and so forth. This map is typical of the Cram company's work and provides an excellent view of the state, with roads, towns, and topography clearly presented. $70

GLO Colorado 1905
A.F. Dinsmore. "State of Colorado. Compiled from the Official Records of the General Land Office and other sources." Washington: General Land Office, 1905. 29 x 34. Color lithograph. Backed on linen. Very good condition.

The U.S. General Land Office (GLO) was established in 1812 with responsibility to survey and control the dispersal of public lands. All public land was required to be surveyed prior to settlement, and the first director of the GLO, Thomas Hutchins, set up a systematic process of rectangular survey for the public lands and launched the great national project to survey and map the public domain in the entire country, a procedure which got under way in the famous "seven ranges" of southeast Ohio. Each surveyor was to record not only geography, but also features of the landscape with economic import, such as roads, Indian trails, existing settlements, Indian lands, mineral deposits, and of particular interest, railroads and their rights of way. Of note is that unlike most surveys of the time, the surveyors were instructed not to apply new names to the landscape, but to use "the received names of all rivers, creeks, lakes, swamps, prairies, hills, mountains and other natural objects."

The GLO continued to publish excellent maps into the 20th century. They almost always were the most accurate and detailed maps of their day, and this separately issued map of Colorado is an excellent example of their output. It has an underlying but clear depiction of the complex topography of the state, with the county and land district boundaries overlaid. Also indicated are forest, private lands, as well as Indian and military reservations. While roads are not indicated, rivers, lakes, towns, and the myriad railroads in the state are all precisely shown and named. Along the top are inset maps of Denver, Cripple Creek and Leadville. $650

"Map of Colorado." Denver: The Clason Map Co., 1908. Separately issued map, folding into original booklet, entitled Clason's Highway Map of Colorado. Lithograph in two colors by the Denver Lith. Co. 30 1/2 x 40. With hole in top margin and minor separation at some folds. Overall very good condition.

An excellent folding, road map of Colorado from the beginning of the twentieth century with its booklet containing an index of Colorado towns, rivers, mountains and other useful information. The map is on a quite large scale, 1 inch = 10 miles, so the detail is impressive. Roads, railroads, wagon roads and mountain trails are all shown and physical features are also clearly noted. Such maps, intended for use, did not survive in very large numbers, especially in such good condition. $175


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