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1859 U. S. Coast Survey Map of San Francisco Bay and City, California


Entrance to San Francisco Bay California.
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Title:    Entrance to San Francisco Bay California.

Description:    This is a beautiful example of the 1859 U. S. Coast Survey nautical chart or maritime map of the entrance to San Francisco Bay and San Francisco itself. Centered on the City of San Francisco, the map covers the Golden Gate Area, the Marin Peninsula, Mission de Dolores and the eastern coastline from Brooks Island to San Antonio Creek. It offers excellent inland detail noting mountain ranges, fields, swamps, and occasionally, individual buildings along with other topographical details. The early city layout and grid structure of San Francisco is clear. It notes countless depth soundings in feet as well as detailed notes on tides, light houses and a wealth of other practical information for the mariner. An inset in the upper right quadrant features a sub-sketch of the entrance to San Francisco Bay noting soundings in fathoms. Along the bottom margin two beautiful profile views depict the entrance to San Francisco Bay and another the entrance to San Pablo Bay. It is noteworthy that this is an independent issue chart and was not prepared for inclusion in the superintendent's annual report. As such it is on thick stock and has no fold damage.

The triangulation for this chart was prepared by R. D Cutts and A. F. Rodgers. The topography is the work of R. D. Cutts, A. M Harrison and A. F. Rodgers. The Hydrography was accomplished by a party under the command of James Alden. The entire chart was prepared under the supervision of A.D. Bache, one of the most influential cartographers of his time. The chart was engraved by J. Knight, A. Blondeau and G. B. Metzeroth and issued as electrotype copy no. 2. by G. Mathiot.


Date:    1859 (dated)

References:    Rumsey 1032.000. Wheat, Carl Irving, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861 (5 vols), #427.

Cartographer:    The Office of the Coast Survey, founded in 1807 by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of Commerce Albert Gallatin, is the oldest scientific organization in the U.S. Federal Government. Jefferson created the "Survey of the Coast," as it was then called, in response to a need for accurate navigational charts of the new nation's coasts and harbors. The spirit of the Coast Survey was defined by its first two superintendents. The first superintendent of the Coast Survey was Swiss immigrant and West Point mathematics professor Ferdinand Hassler. Under the direction of Hassler, from 1816 to 1843, the ideological and scientific foundations for the Coast Survey were established. These included using the most advanced techniques and most sophisticated equipment as well as an unstinting attention to detail. Hassler's devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were intern subdivided into smaller triangulation units that were then individually surveyed. Employing this exacting technique on such a massive scale had never before been attempted. Consequently Hassler and the Coast Survey under him developed a reputation for uncompromising dedication to the principles of accuracy and excellence. Unfortunately, despite being a masterful surveyor, Hassler was abrasive and politically unpopular, twice loosing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonethelss, Hassler lead the Coast Survey until his death in 1843, at which time Alexander Dallas Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin, took the helm. Bache was fully dedicated to the principles established by Hassler, but proved more politically astute and successfully lobbied Congress liberally fund the endeavor. Under the leadership of A. D. Bache, the Coast Survey completed its most important work. Moreover, during his long tenure with the Coast Survey, from 1843 to 1865, Bache was a steadfast advocate of American science and navigation and in fact founded the American Academy of Sciences. Bache was succeeded by Benjamin Pierce who ran the Survey from 1867 to 1874. Pierce was in turn succeeded by Carlile Pollock Patterson who was Superintendent from 1874 to 1881. In 1878, under Patterson's superintendence, the U.S. Coast Survey was reorganized as the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (C & GS or USGS) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA. Click here for a list of rare maps from the U. S. Coast Survey.

Size:   Printed area measures 40 x 24.5 inches (101.6 x 62.23 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 50000

Condition:    Very good. On heavy stock. Overall toning. Blank on verso.

Code:   SanFranciscoBayEnt-uscs-1859 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    U.S. Government Map , San Francisco

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