"Los Angeles", Koppel, Charles
Subject: Los Angeles, California
Period: 1856 (published)
Publication: U.S. Pacific Railroad Surveys - California
Color: Printed Color
9.2 x 7 inches
23.4 x 17.8 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."
This is the first printed depiction of Los Angeles. The plaza is on the left with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background. At the right foreground on the hill is the former Mexican jail. Our Lady of the Angels church is at center. This lovely tinted lithograph was created for Robert S. Williamson's report of his explorations in California for potential railroad routes.
References: Deak #671.
Attractive example with just a few tiny spots of foxing in the image.