By: Capt. E.G. Beckwith & F.W. Egloffstein
Date: 1861 (published) Washington D.C.
Dimensions: Four Sheets 21 x 18.5 inches (53.5 x 47 cm)
This is a historically significant set of maps pertaining to the surveys that would lead to the construction of the western portion of the first United States transcontinental railroad between the years 1863 and 1869. The majority of this particular route would have track laid by the Central Pacific Railroad and some by the Union Pacific Railroad eventually joining with a drive of the final, celebratory Golden Spike at Promontory Point, Utah.
Map No. 1 From the Valley of the Green River to the Great Salt Lake
The first of four maps presents the area around the Wahsatch Mountains from the Green River in the east to Great Salt Lake in the west. The small, but growing Mormon settlement of Great Salt Lake City is featured as a grid pattern, bisected by a baseline and meridian. Other smaller settlements such as Fillmore, Nephi City, Payson City, Provo, Lake City, Willow Springs, and Ogden City are also located along the western slopes of the Wasatch Range. Fort Bridger and Uintah fort are also located within this map.
Map No. 2 From Great Salt Lake to the Humboldt Mountains
This map continues the proposed railroad line from the southern shore of Great Salt Lake, across the Utah desert, through Goshoot Passage, and Humboldt Pass. An alternate route deemed 'practical for a railroad,' is also provided just south of the proposed route. In the northern portion of the map, a section of the Emigrant Road that would be used by would-be settlers of California is delineated through the range of the Snakes and Shoshones, the Thousand Spring Valley, and ultimately the Humboldt River.
An interesting notation marks the location where Captain John W Gunnison was "killed by Indians." Gunnison was well respected among the Mormons and Brigham Young as he first came to the area serving under Captain Stansbury during the Utah Territory Expedition of 1849. While it would later be determined that Gunnison was murdered by the "Danites," a Mormon group disguised as Indians, the Paiute Tribe would still be indicted for the act. This was not the only time a group of Mormons would kill Americans on expeditions and blame the Indians, the same fate fell upon three members of the Powell Expedition in 1869 who were believed by the Mormons to be spies.
Map No. 3 From the Humboldt Mountains to the Mud Lakes
This stretch of the proposed railroad runs from the eastern edge of the Humboldt Range to Pyramid Lake, which is located about 20 miles northeast from present-day Reno, Nevada. This range of mountains serves as the divide between two large basins, the southern of which was determined by John C. Fremont to be endorheic, meaning the water with has no outflow path to an external body of water such as a river or ocean. Any unused water that runs into this basin either evaporates or seeps into the ground. Territories of the Banack and Pah-Utah (a.k.a. Digger Indians) natives are noted on either side of this range.
Map No. 4 From the Valley of the Mud Lakes to the Pacific Ocean
Though the Pacific Ocean is not shown within this map, the central valley, west of Sacramento (also not shown) was already well mapped with an easy route to the Bay of San Francisco. The proposed railroad runs through Madeline Pass and Madeline Plains, before following along the Upper Sacramento or Pitt River before tuning south near Fort Reading and continuing along the east side of the Sacrament River until it crosses near Fremont, California. Interestingly, little cartographic detail is given to the region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where gold was discovered near Coloma, CA. Though discovered in 1844 by John C. Fremont in 1844, Lake Tahoe is also omitted from the map.
Frederick Wilhelm von Egloffstein (1824 - 1885) was a German-born military man, explorer, mapmaker, landscape artist and engraver. He was the first person to employ ruled glass screens, together with photography, to produce engravings. Egloffstein was hired as a topographer for the last Western expedition of John Charles Frémont, 1853-54. In Great Salt Lake City he joined the survivors of the Gunnison–Beckwith Expedition under Lieutenant Edward G. Beckwith, producing these maps as well as panoramas of Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and California, published in the Pacific Railroad Reports. Upon completing these maps he would then join the Joseph Christmas Ives expedition up the Colorado into the Grand Canyon. Before returning to Germany in in 1878 where he would live out the rest of his life, Egloffstein would serve for the Union Army in the Civil War as a Colonel until he was wounded and would get back to map making on bahlf og the Union Army.
Condition: While the condition of each map varies slightly, we consider all to be in very good condition. Each map has been linen-backed, so they lay flat, present beautifully, and are well preserved for years to come. Some paper toning is apparent along fold lines, but this is very common among these maps
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