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1855 U.S.C.S. Map or Chart of Washington and Oregon

Reconnaissance of the Western Coast of the United States (Northern Sheet) from Umpquah River to the Boundary. - Main View

1855 U.S.C.S. Map or Chart of Washington and Oregon



Reconnaissance of the Western Coast of the United States (Northern Sheet) from Umpquah River to the Boundary.
  1855 (dated)     22 x 25 in (55.88 x 63.5 cm)


One of the most attractive coastal charts of the western United States. A rare hand colored 1855 coastal chart of the coastline of the United States Pacific Northwest, including the modern day states of Washington and Oregon. Map extends from the Oregon-California border northward to Vancouver Island and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Features eight coastal views: 'Cape Perpetua N. by w. ½ W,' 'Cape Lookout N. by W.,' Tillamook Head N. by W. ½ W.,' 'Sail Rock,' 'Destruction Island N. W.,' 'Flattery Rocks N.W. by N.,' 'Tatoosh I. North,' and 'Entrance to Columbia River, Cape Disappointment E. by N..' Depths sounding all along the coast with various points, harbors, and lookouts well noted. Upper Left quadrant features tidal notations and sailing instructions. Inland, Steilacoom, Olympia, and Seattle are all noted on the Puget Sound. The hydrography for this region was accomplished by James Alden and the geography by G. Davidson. Published under the supervision of A. D. Bache for the 1864 Report of the Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey.


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...


Report of the Superintendant of the U.S. Coast Survey, (1855 edition).    


Very Good condition. Minor discoloration on original folds. Several minor verso repairs and reinforcements.


Smith, Murphy, Realms of Gold: A Catalogue of Maps in the Library of the American Philosophical Society