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The City of Denver Published by H.L. Thayer, Circa 1883

This remarkably detailed and rare map of the city of Denver, published by H.L. Thayer in 1883, is one of only two known impressions that survive today. The original booklet that holds this portable map is included in the frame. The pocket map is centered on the Platte River and includes elements such as land owners, irrigation canals, numbered blocks, and railroads. Each subdivision is denoted by a bright hand-colored border, giving the neatly organized city a sense of life. The map is further embellished with six vignettes: the National Mining and Industrial Exposition Building, The Windsor Hotel, the St. James Hotel, the Daniels & Fisher Building, the Court House, and the School House. Soon after this map was published, the National Mining and Industrial Exposition Building was taken down at the conclusion of the 1884 Exposition, leaving only a few surviving photographs and depictions such as this as the reminders of its existence.

At the bottom left side of the map, one will notice several divisions of land that were owned by the famous P.T. Barnum, known for creating the popular Barnum & Bailey Circus. Additionally, at the top right is a list of maps produced by Thayer along with their prices. This particular pocket map would have cost a traveler $1.50.

Denver, Colorado was not founded until 1858. Prior to that, Colorado was mostly a stopping point for travelers on their way to California and Oregon. However, in the 1860s Colorado experienced its own gold rush shortly followed by a silver rush in the 1870s and 1880s. The sudden increase in population and introduction of railroads led to a boom in the area. Travelers hoping to make their fortunes off mining and associated trades would have needed pocket maps such as the one presented, detailing land ownership, mining expositions, and rivers. 


Overall very good condition considering age and use. Some wear visible along fold lines. Booklet has one small abraded area but is intact and mounted with the map. The coloring is original, with only minimal fading. The map has been framed according to the highest conservation standards.

Framed dimensions: 43 ½” H x 48 ½” W x 2 ½” D.

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