The Perspective Map of the City of Denver, Colorado that was created in 1889 can be found at the Library of Congress. It was a sprawling illustrated map in pictorial form that was popular in the 19th century. Illustrated maps were used by boomtowns like Denver as a marketing tool.
The bird’s eye view map of early Denver was distorted and most probably embellished to impress a viewer. However, if you will look closely at the illustrated map, you will notice that its details are in sync to real life, block by block. It captured the details and personality that a traditional map will likely miss. The context falls outside the frame of a photograph.
A series of map-crops and observations were published under a curiosity-baiting headline “Find your neighborhood in the Google Maps of 1889.” The post was shared by Facebook groups and neighborhood organizations.
Some of the viewers were able to find their houses on the map while others noticed the trolley lines, the old city hall, the iron bridges that cross Cherry Creek and the warehouses that became brew pubs like John Hickenloopers. People also noticed the oddities like the state capitol which was drawn the wrong way. It was possible that the capitol was not yet finished when it was drawn or it was simply for aesthetic reasons.
For the old-timers as well as newcomers, the illustrated map was exciting although it is easy to get lost among the details. There is thrill in finding out what survived and what did not. Part of the map’s appeal was Denver’s nostalgia and the glory of the recent past.
However, for all its personality, the illustrated map was not about people. While it showed factories and how they pollute the atmosphere, the map did not include the immigrants that worked in the factories or the white settlers that arrived several years earlier.
If you are searching for a unique but effective marketing tool, visit IllustratedMaps.com where illustrated maps of your city, town, campus, resort or tourist destination can be artistically created. Map illustrations or bird’s eye view maps look like they were drawn from above from the perspective of a bird.