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1846 Bradford Map of Boston, Massachusetts

Boston. - Main View

1846 Bradford Map of Boston, Massachusetts


Exceptional map of Boston on the cusp of its landfill transformation into a modern metropolis.



  1846 (dated)     12.5 x 14.5 in (31.75 x 36.83 cm)     1 : 19500


A beautiful example of Thomas G. Bradford's stunning 1846 map of Boston on the cusp of its transformation, via landfills and railroads, from a colonial port to a major metropolitan center. The cartographer uses shading to indicate areas of development and color coding to identify the 12 city wards in Boston Proper. He also names most piers and docks. Important buildings ranging from schools to the state house are identified. In South Boston, the legendary poorhouses, the 'House of Industry' and the 'House of Reformation' are noted.

The map centers on the Shawmut Peninsula or Boston proper. It is surrounded by Cambridge, Charleston, East Boston, and South Boston, all of which follow, with some consistency, their original shorelines and are connected to Boston Proper via a network of bridges and ferries. Numerous bridges and rail lines are noted, some remarkably extending straight through open water, particularly in the Back Bay area. Likewise, the boundary between Boston and Roxbury literally extends into open water, giving a clear message of the plans already in place by the city governance.

This map was engraved by C. W. Boynton and published in the 1846 edition of Bradford's A Universal Illustrated Atlas, exhibiting a Geographical, Statistical, and Historical view of the World


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