Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who were the cartographers who mapped the transcontinental railroad?


I am a 3rd year student at National University of Ireland, Maynooth. I am doing a project on transcontinental railroads and have found this site very useful. I was wondering do you have any information regarding the cartograhy or who actually made the maps that display the new rail lines of the CPRR? Who mapped the land? Are there names on the maps which are on your site? I have to provide this sort of information when describing the history of the transcontinental railways. I hope I am clear.

—Gearoid Harrington


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The publisher of each map on our website is provided if known.

If you are asking about the actual cartographer who did the surveying and drew the map, that information is provided if known, but typically a publisher like Colton or Mitchell took credit for the map without disclosing who did the work.

Also see the Pacific Railroad Surveys.

Perhaps you might want to consult a reference on 19th century cartography for further information. See, for example, Wheat, Carl I. Mapping the Trans-Mississippi West 1540-1861. Vol. IV. From the Pacific Railroad Surveys to the Onset of the Civil War. San Francisco, Institute of Historical Cartography, 1960.

11/11/2010 1:22 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see, RAILROAD MAPS of the United States: A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Original 19th-century Maps in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress compiled by ANDREW M. MODELSKI, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON, 1975.

11/11/2010 2:14 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

I can only speak to the earlier survey maps created for the Central Pacific Rail Road by its first chief engineer, Theodore Judah. Hand-drawn originals – ink on starched linen (rolled, large format) – are in the collections of the California Secretary of State/California State Archives at Sacramento.

In past years when I worked as a collections assistant at CSA I had to regularly maintain the railroad maps collections and still marvel at the complexity and quality of T.D. Judah's survey maps. The largest measures over 16 feet in length and shows the proposed crossing of Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The route shown on this map is close to (but not exactly the same as) the final track roadbed. It is multi-colored and quite extraordinary.

After Judah died from malaria [sic] while en route to lobby Congress in Washington, D.C., the Central Pacific brought in other civil engineers, chiefly Samuel S. Montague and Lewis M. Clement. These men followed very similar surveying and map-making processes as the CPRR quickly moved to lay rail east from Sacramento and into Nevada and Utah Territory. Draft maps were drawn on paper and vellum; final copies for field use, permanent record and promotion of the railroad provided to Congress and the U.S. President were drawn in ink on starched linen.

When the Central Pacific (and Southern Pacific) began a major line overhaul and improvement in the 1880s to widen or realign some of the older track infrastructure, new ink-on-linen maps were created in sections covering each district and were divided state by state. These have been preserved as gifts from Southern Pacific Transportation Company to individual states. California's CP and SP revision maps are at California State Railroad Museum Library in Sacramento; the CP and SP maps for Nevada are at Nevada Historical Society, University of Nevada in Reno and the maps for Oregon are at Oregon Historical Society Library in Portland, OR. The maps for Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Texas are housed in similar organizations' archives or libraries.

—Kevin V. Bunker

11/12/2010 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPRR Chief Engineer Theodore Judah who became ill on board ship from Panama to New York City probably died of typhoid fever, not yellow fever, and not malaria.

11/12/2010 10:44 AM  

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