Carson City cartograph housed at Bancroft Library
Ever heard of Sanborn Maps? Carson City has a few:
Sanborn maps are similar to panoramic cartographs, except the view is looking down on streets and buildings like a blueprint.
Carson City has a ton of these dating from 1885-1907. The maps show detailed views of what downtown Carson City and other streets looked like back in the day. Most of the maps are in color and many referred to keep record of information in cities and towns, such as fire insurance, water sources, and business status.
This collection can be navigated online for free through a project of the University of Nevada, Reno called “Nevada in Maps”.
There’s more to it; Carson City even has its own topographic, historic geologic and mining map.
Discover these maps at: contentdm.library.unr.edu/explore/NVMapsExplore/nvmaps/nvmaps-home.html
In the Jan. 19 issue of the Nevada Appeal, we enlightened our readers about a collection of regional panoramic maps from the olden days, published by Library of Congress.
Under Nevada’s collection, only three maps were found: two of Virginia City and one of Reno, ranging in years from 1861-1907.
I was surprised out of all places Carson City wasn’t included. Being kind of new to the town, I said, “Now, Carson City needs one. Either it doesn’t have one or it’s lost out there, somewhere.”
We were talking about the Library of Congress. There’s in fact a bird’s-eye cartograph of Carson City — and I’m not talking about Google Maps.
Thanks to Mr. Augustus Koch, who depicted a beautiful panoramic of Carson City, dated 1875, back when it was still known as Ormsby County.
But why hasn’t LOC published Carson City in its collection, under Nevada?
According to the “about” page, it adds maps once they’re acquired by the Geography & Map Division.
So, here’s urging the Library of Congress to add Carson City’s cartograph to its collection, especially since we’re Nevada’s capital.
I called Robert Morris, the cartographic acquisitions program specialist of the Geography and Map Division at LOC. When I asked him why Carson City wasn’t included in the collection, he said Koch’s original map is currently nestled in the Bancroft Library at University of California in Berkeley.
The problem is LOC generally doesn’t reproduce copies — it wants the originals.
So, our neighbors next door either purchased the Carson City map or somebody donated it to them, Morris said.
After our discussion, Morris said he didn’t want to leave Carson City out; if somebody has an original copy of a panoramic map, feel free to donate or sell it to the LOC.
In fact, a few locals in town claimed they have their own copies of the map hanging in households and offices, according to their emails. Some bought it through the former Great Basin Art Gallery or the Nevada State Museum. But the museum said it hasn’t sold the map in the shop for years. Again, it has to be original.
The Western Nevada Historic Photo Collection has a scanned copy of Koch’s map, available to download in any size at wnhpc.com. But it also sources the Bancroft Library at UC.
Morris said if anyone has any suggestions on how to fill this void in the collection, he can be reached at 202-707-8504 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, maybe some of us can poke the folks at Bancroft Library and tell them about our situation.
Let me re-clarify: Carson City has a panoramic map from 1875, but the Library of Congress doesn’t have it — and needs it.