A Map of Washington Territory West of the Cascade Mountains. C. A./ G. W. WHITE, C. B. COLTON CO.
The Finest Large-Scale Map of the Washington State Area
Washington/ Pacific Northwest.
[New York, 1870]

A Map of Washington Territory West of the Cascade Mountains.

Four sheets, each approximately 32 ½ x 24 inches, 64 x 48 inches if joined, Original hand color; minor staining, reinforced at junctures of folds, few marginal mends, else excellent condition.

Very scarce. This was the only large-scale printed map of Washington during the territory period, and it is certainly one of the most visually appealing ever produced of this area. Its publication followed a period of remarkable growth, when the population of the Territory more than doubled between 1860 and 1870. The map’s size and scale (four miles to the inch) allow it to register the evidence of this growth in excellent detail. A color code designates prairies, government reserves and Indian reservations; roads are also shown. The area’s saw mills are indicated, highlighting the timber industry that was the region’s primary draw for settlers. Other resources are indicated, notably coal near the Skookumchuck River south of Olympia and around the lakes east of Seattle. Wetlands and mud flats are marked, and soundings are given for harbors and the water approaches to the region. To the north, the San Juan Islands are well charted, as is Bellingham Bay. Though the specific topography of the Cascade Mountains is ambiguous, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Adams are shown.
The Seattle – Tacoma region is well detailed and accurately portrayed. Union and Green Lakes are shown correctly, as are Lake Washington and Sammamish Lake. Seattle itself gives little suggestion of its future size: 1,107 people lived there in 1870, and the city takes up less than a square mile of what would become Seattle’s downtown on the shore of Elliott Bay. No major settlements are shown on Bainbridge Island, though there are two sawmills. The island is well charted, as is Vashon Island and all of Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound. Tacoma is shown, scarcely larger than the sawmill the village grew around.
It cannot be accidental that the publication of this map coincided with the start of construction of the Northern Pacific Railway. Its most granular detail can be found in the corridor between Monticello in the south to Admiralty Inlet in the north, which was the area that was under consideration as the terminus of the Northern Pacific. The placement of the railroad would significantly affect the development of Washington. Tacoma, chosen to be the terminus of the railroad, would consequently skyrocket in size to 1,098 in 1880 and 36,006 in 1890. (In 1870, the entire population of Tacoma was able to fit in a cozy group photograph.) Other cities would disappear; Claquato, in 1870 the seat of Lewis County, would be bypassed by the railroad and replaced by Chehalis, a town that would not even exist until after the railroad appeared. Despite the future rail boom, only one railroad appears on this map, the short-lived Cascades Portage Railroad, covering a six-mile stretch along the Washington shore of the Columbia River, which allowed travelers to bypass an impassable series of rapids, also shown.
The surveys on which the map was based were executed by Charles A. White. According to Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, White produced no other maps. It is likely that “Charles A. White” refers to geologist and paleontologist Charles Abiathar White (1826-1910). H participated in U.S. geological surveys in the west and appears to have been one of the geologists who worked in conjunction with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company on its surveys. While bibliographies of Charles Abiathar White do not appear to include this map, both his connection to the railroad and the strong geological detail of the map suggest him to be the likely author.


* Streeter V: 3257; Phillips America p.997; Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. IV, p. 380.

Price: $10,500.00

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