"[Lot of 11 - Prints from U.S. Railroad Surveys]", U.S. Railroad Surveys
Subject: Western United States
Period: 1856-61 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
9.3 x 6.3 inches
23.6 x 16 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 very attractive lot consists of eleven tinted lithographic plates from three different volumes of railroad surveys concerning the explorations in the western United States. Size varies slightly.
A. Mission and Plain of San Fernando, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - Cal.. This is the first depiction of the San Fernando Valley (The Valley), the now urban northwest area of Los Angeles.
B. Mount Rainier Viewed from Near Steilacoom, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
C. Saint Paul M.T., from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
D. Fort Okinakane, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
E. Fort Union, and Distribution of Goods to the Assinniboines, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
F. Fort Massachusetts, at the Foot of the Sierra Blanca, Valley of San Luis, , from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 38th & 39th Parallels.
G. Fort Vancouver. W.T., from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
H. Fort Benton, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 47th & 49th Parallels.
I. View of Benecia from the West, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - Cal..
J. U.S. Military Post, Benicia, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - Cal..
K. Fort Smith. Arkansas, from U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - 35th Parallel.
The majority of the plates are clean and bright with light toning and soiling along the edges of the sheet. Two plates are lightly toned overall.