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1866 U.S. Coast Survey Map of Portland Harbor, Maine

Portland Harbor, Maine. - Main View

1866 U.S. Coast Survey Map of Portland Harbor, Maine



Portland Harbor, Maine.
  1866 (dated)     29 x 25.5 in (73.66 x 64.77 cm)     1 : 20000


A beautiful example of the U.S. Coast Survey's 1866 nautical chart or maritime map of Portland Harbor, Maine. Centered on the city of Portland, this map covers from Westbrook to Long Island and from the mouth of the Presumpscot River to Trundy Point. This 1866 map represents the culmination of the Coast Survey's work in the vicinity of Portland. Unlike earlier issues, this example presents rich topographical detail as well as hydrographical data. There are countless depth soundings throughout and the left-hand quadrants feature sailing instructions, notes on tides and light houses, and a wealth of other practical information for the mariner. The city of Portland itself is beautifully illustrated with numerous individual buildings and all major streets rendered.

The triangulation for this map is the work of C. O. Boutelle. The Topography was completed by A. W. Longfellow. The hydrography was accomplished by parties under the command of M. Woodhull, T. A. Craven, F. A. Roe, and J. Wilkinson. The whole was compiled under the supervision of A. D. Bache, one of the most influential American cartographers of the 19th century.


The Office of the Coast Survey (1807 - present) 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 devised a labor intensive triangulation system whereby the entire coast was divided into a series of enormous triangles. These were in turn 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 losing congressional funding for the Coast Survey. Nonetheless, Hassler led 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 to 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) to accommodate topographic as well as nautical surveys. Today the Coast Survey is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA as the National Geodetic Survey. More by this mapmaker...


Bache, A. D., Report of the Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, (Washington) 1866.    


Very good condition. Some wear and toning on original fold lines. Backed with archival tissue for stability.