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Press Release- 1850s Vermont Map CD's
To see the decorative titles for all 11 1850s maps click

Old Maps       PO Box 54   West Chesterfield, NH 03466

For Immediate Release     October 26, 2005

1850s Vermont Road Maps issued on CDROM

Vermont’s history in the mid-1800’s comes alive with a new computerized series of old maps.  David Allen of West Chesterfield, NH has transferred all of the 1850s Vermont county maps from wall-sized maps to CDs which can be read by home computer.  These are some of the oldest comprehensive road maps in Vermont.  They show the locations of all the houses that existed at the time, with the homeowners’ names – an invaluable resource for those doing old house research or family genealogy. Hikers and hunters find the old maps useful - many of the old roads can still be found as trails in the woods today.

The mid-1800’s was a period of extraordinary map-making in America.  Urban publishers, such as H.F. Walling of New York City, would employ surveyors to measure the roads and take names of property owners as each home was noted.  Prominent citizens often paid a sponsorship to have their homes or businesses featured in a sketch in the margins.  The location and configuration of each factory, business, church and school was also mapped.

The original maps, often seen hanging in town halls or stored in attics, are county-wide wall maps measuring about 5 feet square. They were printed using multiple printing plates, assembled and transferred onto a cloth backing.  They were then colored, varnished, and mounted on wooden rollers.

Although many copies of the original maps were made and sold, few good quality copies exist today.  Mr. Allen researched each county map, obtained copies where available, and reviewed copies archived at the Library of Congress.  The maps were scanned at high resolution and are presented as individual town and village maps.  There are more than 500 maps of Vermont’s villages and towns as they existed 150 years ago contained on the eleven county CDs.

The CDROM editions are available for purchase on a county basis, corresponding to the original wall maps. In addition to PDF files of the old maps, some modern road maps are included for comparison. 

Additional information about these maps, as well as similar maps of New Hampshire and Massachusetts can be found at the web site  www.old-maps.com or by calling the publisher, David Allen, at 413-772-2801 (days).


List of Vermont 1850s County Maps

County(s)                              Year       Surveyor                                Publisher

Rutland                                1854       Chace, J., Jr.                             Chace &  Scott
                               1855/6    Doton, Hosea                           n.a
                           1856        Rice, E.  & Harwood, C.E.  Peckham, C.B. / H.F. Walling
                              1856       Chace, J., Jr.                             McClellan, C., & Co.
Addison                                1857       Walling, H.F.                           Baker, Wm. & Co.
Franklin & Grand Isle                    1857       Walling, H.F.                           Baker, Tilden & Chittenden                                      1857       Walling, H.F.                           Baker, Tilden & Washington
                           1858       Walling, H.F.                           Baker & Tilden
Caledonia                               1858       Walling, H.F.                           Baker & Tilden  Orange                                             1858       Walling, H.F.                           Baker & Tilden
Orleans, Lamoille & Essex            1859       Walling, H.F.                           Loomis & May


More facts on the 1850s Maps and These CD Reproductions

There are 11 separate maps for Vermont’s 14 counties in the mid 1800s. Franklin and Grand-Isle counties are combined onto a single map as are Orleans, Lamoille and Essex Counties.

The 1850s maps were the very first road maps ever made for most of Vermont. Only a few large settlements such as downtown Burlington, Brattleboro, and Rutland were mapped in detail before these maps. I know of no complete town maps prior to these comprehensive county maps.  The US government topographical maps (USGS maps) weren’t begun until the end of the century. Many people are aware of the “Beers” atlases of the 1869-1872 period which are of the same type, though published in a more convenient atlas form.  That format has led to the Beers maps being more widely used today. There are significant differences between the Beers atlases and the 1850s maps. Lots of homeowner names are different, and some houses shown on the 1850s maps don't appear on the Beers maps. These two sets of maps straddle two transforming historical events - the Civil War and opening of railroads – which caused huge changes in Vermont’s population.

The CDROM “takes apart” the original wall maps into separate town and village maps. Every Vermont town is mapped, some with two or more maps. Larger villages are on separate, detailed maps. These publications mark the first time these maps have been made available in convenient format. The originals are about 5 feet square, unwieldy to copy, and very fragile.

Limited text is added to each CD about the general nature of 1850s map publishing. I hope to meet local historians for each of these counties who might be interested in analyzing the maps for their accuracy as to facts and roads so that later editions of the CDs can be made more interesting by adding commentary.

For Press Release on the 1870s Beers Atlases, click here.

Send EMAIL if you have any questions  - be sure to mention the subject

Revised: 01/13/10
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