Library of Congress publishes Nevada panoramic collection |

Library of Congress publishes Nevada panoramic collection

Titled as "Reno, the commercial center of Nevada", is a drawn bird's-eye of Reno's commercial businesses published in 1907.
Library of Congress |

Ever wonder how researchers mapped aerial views of cities centuries ago before drones and Google conquered?

It was all done by sketch artists — better known as cartographers.

The Library of Congress teamed up with the Digital Public Library of America and uploaded a collection of nationwide maps on its website, with thousands dating back to the late 1800s.

Cartographers were hired for their keen eyes. For Nevada, there are three maps available from a bird’s eye perspective: Virginia City and Reno, and Virginia City in 1861, before Nevada became a state.

Many of the views depict commercial buildings and residences from 1861, 1875 and 1907. Along with the panoramic views, sketches of individual businesses, such as banks and offices, are included in the collection.

These maps were especially popular among U.S. and Canadian cities and towns during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to the Library of Congress, the maps were not drawn to scale but presented perspectives of street patterns, buildings and major landscapes.

A majority of the maps added to the website under U.S. and Canada are documented by John R. Hebert and Patric E. Dempsy.

They collected 1,726 panoramic maps of cities from both regions and assigned five men to depict the areas. They are more than 55 percent of the panoramic maps in the Library of Congress.

Although these maps weren’t reliable for navigating, they present a view of early America at angles we haven’t seen before.

Now, Carson City needs one. Either it doesn’t have one or it’s lost out there, somewhere.

To get a closer look at the shown panoramic views, visit and search for Nevada.