If you could take a hot air balloon in 1875 and drift through the squalid sky above St. Louis, you'd see a city bustling with breweries, horse-drawn carriages, trains skimming the riverfront and ferries chugging beneath the Eads Bridge.
via The Eads Bridge, as recorded in the equivalent of the 1875 version of Google Maps.
Such was the view granted to a group of artists who took to the skies between 1874 and 1876 to furiously sketch St. Louis -- each home, building and street in the burgeoning metropolis. The result was a staggeringly detailed perspective map, arguably the most impressive ever made, titled Pictorial St. Louis: The Great Metropolis of the Mississippi Valley, a Topographical Survey Drawn in Perspective A.D. 1875.
The map has attracted a cult following among cartography buffs, and first editions can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. So it came as a bit of shock when Brandon Clark nabbed a largely intact original for less than $100 at an estate sale last May.More »