Friday, November 21, 2008

Downtown, 1864

Here's a fun project for you. March into Porky's, the BBQ place on Gurley, buy yourself a sandwich and a beverage and seat yourself in front of the huge map of old, old Prescott. Pick your favorite street corner and compare what's there today with roughly 150 years ago.

Gurley and Cortez appear to have been the major business streets at that time. For some reason the map maker chose to play down Montezuma; was it Whiskey Row back then or not?

Granite Creek, from Gurley to the big bend. Farms and orchards lining the creek. One bridge. No pines showing except at the periphery. Below, the Square, already the focal point for Prescott.

In case the thought had not already occurred to you, I am a certified map freak. Old maps, new maps. Topographic quads. Google Earth. National Geographic maps. Whatever. They convey just a tremendous amount of information in such a compact and accessible format. My LH used to be amused at how I would stare at, say, the Mt. Union topo for long minutes, but I was learning about historic sites, old mines, where the roads went (and their likely condition), the course of the upper Hassayampa River, trails. A wonderful way to get to know the territory.


Lucy said...

I love old maps too. I also rather like those 3D models of towns in former times that they're fond of in museums here.

Anonymous said...

Old maps rule for finding places of interest in town. After scouring Sharlot Hall online for "new" old maps, I realise a trip in person to their archives is required. Did we loose all the pines in town to the early mining effort?

Granny J said...

lucy -- around the turn of the previous century (i.e., the late 1890s), the was a vogue for pictorial maps of cities around the country. It seems to me I've seen a Prescott some place downtown.

style -- Derek, the map maker, has digitized a huge number of the Sharlot Hall maps, BTW. Re: pine trees -- as the map shows it, most of the in-town pines were removed to make way for farming; I've read somewhere that the immediate Bradshaws and Prietas were all logged by the mining folk and that we have very, very few "old growth" pines in these parts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Granny J, I need to see Derek. I have seen one of the oldest ponderosas on forest rd.73a. Too bad it had died, it was at least 8' diameter. I do know that on some private property adjacent is the #3 largest ponderosa in Az. being cared by and monitored by ASU.

Granny J said...

style -- I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of an 8-ft diameter ponderosa pine. I had no idea they'd get that H*U*G*E. How big is number 3?

Avus said...

I, too, am fascinated by maps of all kinds. I can lose myself in a good quality Ordnance Survey map (two and a half inches to the mile) and fly over and into it for hours - like settling down with a good book.
Google Earth has been a great addition to my wanderings (have even been to Prescott, but did not pick you out there with your camera!)

Granny J said...

avus -- I was hiding that day, taking pictures inside one of the local stores.

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