1870 Bufford Map of Rockport, Pigeon Cove, Cape Ann, Massachusetts

Ocean View Extreme Point Cape Ann, Pigeon Cove, Mass. A little over an hour's ride from Boston by Eastern Rail-Road. - Main View

1870 Bufford Map of Rockport, Pigeon Cove, Cape Ann, Massachusetts


'Of all the wild romantic places I have visited, nothing exceeds Pigeon Cove...' - Francis A. Durivage


Ocean View Extreme Point Cape Ann, Pigeon Cove, Mass. A little over an hour's ride from Boston by Eastern Rail-Road.
  1870 (undated)     27.5 x 39.25 in (69.85 x 99.695 cm)     1 : 2500


An exceptional c. 1870 J. H. Bufford map of Pigeon Cove and Ocean View, now part of Rockport, Cape Ann, Massachusetts. The view promotes ambitious plans for a luxurious resort community on the northeastern point on Cape Ann - Ocean View. The plan mostly materialized, transforming the Pigeon Cove - Andrews Point area into a thriving resort community by the end of the century.
A Closer Look
The view is oriented roughly to the west. Pigeon Cove itself appears in the lower left. The map reveals streets spaciously laid out for sale, with some of the more desirable properties already occupied. Surrounding the map are vignette images intended to promote the considerable natural beauty of the area, as well as planned facilities, including several grand hotels. Text to the left of the main map features testimonials, all of which are rapturous in their enthusiasm. Some of the promotional text speaks for itself,
Broad off the shore, easterly, is the old ocean, spread out before you in all its magnitude and grandeur.... in connection with the bathing and the healthy and invigorating atmosphere, the many pleasant drives, the rambles in the woods and by the shore, and the excellent facilities for gunning fishing, and sailing, make the place one of unequalled attraction for those who are in quest of health or pleasure.
Historical Context
Ocean View was the brainchild of George Babson (1835 - 1895) of Pigeon Cove and Eben Phillips, 'the Fish Oil King', of Swampscott (1808 - 1875), both of whom are prominently named on the map. Tourists and summer residents had been trickling into Cape Ann for decades, compelled by its rugged picturesque beauty. Plans to extend existing railroad lines into Rockport materialized in the 1850s. Having seen Swampscott transformed by the railroad, Phillips recognized an opportunity, and in 1855 began acquiring land near Pigeon Cove with a local partner and landowner, George Babson. When the railroad finally reached Rockport in 1862, the duo began promotion and construction in earnest.

The first street to be constructed was Phillips Avenue. It was along this premium route that a few of the original properties sold. Much of the other street development, including Linwood, Gale, Long Branch, Mount Locust, and Ocean Avenue proceed apace, and remains much as is presented here. Babson Avenue was constructed, but is now named Haven Avenue. Lands to the northwest, where a large park, Mt. Holly, was planned, were never fully developed due to the rugged cliffs, and today are a protected conservation area - Andrew's Woods. In 1871, Phillips constructed Ocean View House, intended as an anchor property, with other grand hotels in the works.

Phillips died in 1879, and his wife, Maria Phillips (?? - 1882), inherited the land. Her own health in decline, she had considerably less interest in pushing development, and sales languished. Glass magnate Thomas Gaffield (1825 - 1900), one of Phillips' early settlers, purchased much of the property in 1885, but was less successful in promoting the development, and development languished, particularly after his death in 1900 and the subsequent the Panic of 1893 (1893 - 1897).
Publication History and Census
This view is extremely rare. We are aware of at least one precursor map, held in the Rockport Town Hall, which has fewer views. The present view appeared around 1870 and was designed, engraved, and printed by J. H. Bufford - a Boston publisher known for his dramatic bird's-eye views. Rare. OCLC notes examples at Boston Athenaeum and the Peabody Essex Museum.


John Henry Bufford (July 27, 1810 - October 8, 1870) was a Boston based lithographer and printer. Bufford was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He apprenticed as an artist and lithographer at Pendleton Lithography (1825 - 1836) of Boston. In 1835 he relocated to New York where he took independent commissions from George Endicott and Nathaniel Currier, among others. Returning to his hometown of Boston in 1839, he took a position of chief artist with the firm of Benjamin W. Thayer, heir to Pendleton Lithography. He probably married Thayer's sister, Anna Melora Tufts Thayer (1808-1878). Bufford has been highly criticized as an engraver, with one historian, David Tatham, stating he had 'a mediocre sort of craftsmanship at best' and 'no very special skills as an original artist.' We, however, find no justification for this harsh criticism. Instead Bufford gravitated toward business and management. By 1844 Thayer's shop was renamed J. H. Bufford and Company. The firm specialized in decorative sheet music, panoramic views, illustrations for books, retractions of paintings, and commercial printing. Bufford is credited with being one of the first employers and mentors of the important artist and engraver Winslow Homer. Bufford died in 1870, passing on the business to his sons Frank G. Bufford and John Henry Bufford Jr. These young men, operating under the imprint of 'J.H. Bufford's Sons, Manufacturing Publishers of Novelties in Fine Arts', expanded the firm with offices in New York and Chicago. A possibly related lithographic printing firm named Bufford Chandler was incorporated in Boston in 1893. It later relocated to Concord, New Hampshire but closed in 1925 when its state business charter was repealed. More by this mapmaker...


Good. Laid down on tissue. Wear and toning on old fold lines with some infill at several fold intersections.


OCLC 191909169.