Catalog Archive
Auction 165, Lot 182


"[Lot of 11 - Plates from the Pacific Railroad Surveys]", U.S. Government

Subject: Western United States

Period: 1855 (circa)


Color: Printed Color

9.4 x 6.6 inches
23.9 x 16.8 cm
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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."

A nice set of plates from the Pacific Railroad Surveys of the 38th and 39th parallels. Size varies slightly.

A. Head of the First Canon of Grand River
B. View Showing the Formation of the Canon of Grand River
C. Fort Massachusetts
D. Wah-Ha-Ta-Gas or Spanish Peaks
E. Coo-Che-To_Pa Pass
F. View of Ordinary Lateral Ravines on Grand River
G. Sangre de Crsito Pass Looking towards San Luis Valley
H. View of Sangre do Cristo Pass
I. Sangre de Cristo Pass
J. [2 examples] Summit of the Nearest Ridges South of Grand River


Condition: B+

Overall very good with pleasant light toning and occasional foxing. One plate has two small tape repairs on verso with minor tape staining on recto.

Estimate: $200 - $250

Sold for: $110

Closed on 11/15/2017