Auction 140, Lot 187

"[Lot of 4 - Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean]", U.S. War Department

Subject: Western United States

Period: 1855 (dated)

Publication: U.S. Pacific Railroad Surveys

Color: Black & White

18 x 20.5 inches
45.7 x 52.1 cm

During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route. The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."

These detailed maps, issued by the War Department, show the proposed railroad route from Utah to California and display very fine hachure to indicate mountainous elevations. Numerous place names are located along with the Emigrant Road and "explored" areas.

A. Map No. 1 From the Valley of Green River to the Great Salt Lake
B. Map No. 2 From Great Salt Lake to the Humboldt Mountains
C. Map No. 3 From the Humboldt Mountains to the Mud Lakes
D. Map No. 4 From the Valley of the Mud Lakes to the Pacific Ocean


Condition: B+

Maps are clean and bright with map #1 having one small repaired hole in facsimile at a fold intersection and faint toning along folds. Maps #2 and #4 each have a tiny unobtrusive fold separation.

Estimate: $300 - $400


Closed on 5/23/2012