Thank You, Sir. May I Have Another. . . Map?

I've met very few people who are completely disinterested in maps. 

My map of Trammel's Trace attracts a lot of interest. When people stop at the visitor center at each state line, what do they have stacked at the counter?  There are beautifully folded state maps that most everyone will take. On the continuum of map affinity from "how do I fold this back" to the truly addicted cartophile, there are more people on the love them end of the scale than not. That is especially true when it comes to old maps.

In this project I've been able to exercise fully my life long admiration of a well-illustrated map by researching maps of Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee over the last 200 years. The map below is one example. 

  E. F. Lee,   Map of Texas containing the latest Grants and Discoveries,   Cincinnati: J.A. James & Co., 1836,     Map #93855  , Holcomb Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

E. F. Lee, Map of Texas containing the latest Grants and Discoveries, Cincinnati: J.A. James & Co., 1836, Map #93855, Holcomb Digital Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

This is one corner of a map available at the Texas General Land Office. Click here to open the full map where you can zoom in for detail. On this 1836 map the road that was Trammel's Trace can be seen heading south from Fulton and passing the Caddo villages which were east of present-day Marshall and the Cherokee village that was north of Henderson. The road was actually to the east of the Cherokee, but in these days that kind of detail as not consequential. It is identified as the Road to Little Rock, generally known at the time as the Southwest Trail or the Military Road.

Even on this relatively late map with regard to settlement, the nature of Trammel's Trace as the first road to Texas from the north is clearly visible.

Part of the attraction to these old maps is their artistic nature. The legends and illustrations were often magnificent in their detail. The style of the map title example below was what Nancy Tiller so wonderfully captured in the map of Trammel's Trace we produced for the book.

So yes, keep those old maps coming. Stay tuned for information on the map exhibit coming to the Houston Museum of Natural Science opening at the end of January. I wonder if there is a discount for map nerds. . .