Antique hand-colored map from Colton's Atlas of America Illustrating the Physical and Political Geography of North and South America and the West India Islands by George W. Colton, 1859. The atlas title page indicates the atlas was published by J.H. Colton and Company, but each map in the atlas says it was published by Johnson & Browning (the addresses for both Colton/Johnson & Browning are the same). This map shows the city of Washington DC surrounded with illustrations of the Capitol, the Smithsonian, and the Washington Monument (including a base structure that was never built), with roads, railroads, notable buildings, etc. Colton's unique decorative border surrounds the map. Almost none of the National Mall west of the Washington Monument grounds and below Constitution Avenue NW existed prior to 1882. After terrible flooding inundated much of downtown Washington, D.C., in 1881, Congress ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge a deep channel in the Potomac and use the material to fill in the Potomac (creating the current banks of the river) and raise much of the land near the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue NW by nearly 6 feet. In the process, the nearby Babcock Lakes, a series of small ponds, were filled in. This "reclaimed land" — which included West Potomac Park, East Potomac Park, the Tidal Basin — was largely complete by 1890, and designated Potomac Park by Congress in 1897. The Colton firm refused to compromise quality, choosing to compete for sales in the finer quality international market rather than the inexpensive domestic one. Because of this, all maps were engraved by steel plates rather than by wax engraving which became the most common method used in the US. Very good antique condition with some tiny mild spots/foxing and signs of age. Measures approx. 16 x 13 inches to the outside of the decorative border.
Item Number: TOW715