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Town Overlay Maps Sets
Sample Base Map
For Ancient Roads Research

The best way to get started on Ancient Roads research is to make a Compilation Base Map showing old roads from the 3 older maps (1850s, 1870s and old USGS). We suggest that this Base Map be drawn by hand on one of the 2 copies of the 2003 State Highway Map we provide. 

Making this map is only a first step - but it is an easy way to get started on Ancient Roads research. If you would like us to make this map for you, click here.

Enlargement from Sample Base Map.  
The heavy dark line are roads shown on the 2003 State Highway Map.  This area of Vernon had 3 old roads per the 19th century maps. In this example the maps are 1856, 1869 and 1890. It is useful to show the homeowners from the old maps because the names help you connect the maps, and they suggest a public road leading to the house.

Sample base map for download.  Click Here to download this sample base map.  It is an 8" x 11" portion of the compilation we did for the Town of Vernon, Vermont. (It is an 800k file.) This is about one quarter of the entire base map, which was prerpared at a scale of 1" = 2000'  (scale of the modern USGS topo map).

The Next Phase -  Modifying the Base Map with new Information
Once you have made your Base Map, you will note discrepancies with things you see on the ground, such as road intersections as you drive down the road.  This is because the older maps were not based on highly accurate surveys.  You can correct the map with what you see on the ground.
And, most importantly, you will find information about possible old roads which existed before the 19th century maps.  Many Vermont roads were created in the decades from 1770-1830, before these old maps were made. The documentation for these roads resides mostly in Town Meeting minutes.  Physical evidence of these old roads exists in the woods today. You can map these old woods roads roughly using the modern topographic maps to draw their approximate routes or use technology such as GPS to map them accurately.

Click here to see an example of a professionally drawn Historic Roads base map.


Revised: 01/13/10
Copyright 2005 [Old Maps]. All rights reserved.