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Article: Mapping Colorado with Louis Nell

19th Century Maps

Mapping Colorado with Louis Nell

One of our favorite maps in our shop right now is this highly detailed, topographical map of the state of Colorado by Louis Nell. The map was issued folded, as a pocket map in 1907, specifically published with “information useful to settlers, miners and travelers."

Louis Nell has a really interesting biography. He first traveled to Colorado in the mid-1870’s as a topographical assistant to leading cartographer George Wheeler. Nell enjoyed the area so much that he settled there and made it his aim to compile the information from all available surveys of Colorado in existence onto one map.

And he succeeded. From 1880 to 1907, Nell published a series of maps of the state, and formed one of the most continuous cartographic records available for the period immediately following Colorado statehood. His intensely detailed maps captured the rapid development of the state, including the great Silver Boom during the late 19th century.

1907 Nell's Map of Colorado

The map in our collection, issued in 1907 and sold by the Kendrick Book & Stationery Company, is the final edition of his Colorado map, and a very scarce issue.

The map is fully engraved with virtually no area left untouched. It is colored to indicate forest reserves, agricultural lands, timber reserves, watersheds, and creeks. Towns, villages, settlements, mining areas, railroads and townships are also highlighted.

Detail of 1907 Nell's Topographical Map of the State of Colorado

A stunning achievement, this is a highly collectible map and would make a beautiful addition to any Colorado map collection

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