Paradise Beckons: The Unique Map of California

Published under the auspices of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which would benefit by selling land to settlers, and the California Board of Trade, this 1890 map uses vivid pictorial motifs and statistics to promote the image of California to investors and settlers. For each county, annual rainfall (in inches) and produce are indicated. Calaveras County still lists gold as a product, along with building stone, fruits, and big trees; Fresno County promotes raisins, wine, cereals, and mines; and Humboldt County has lumber, fish, dairying, potatoes, and apples. Pictures of hotels, natural wonders, palm trees, and tourist sites present California as a paradise. The inset at bottom left displays a bit of cartographic humor: The boundary of California has been filled in with the outlines of ten other states, to demonstrate that California has plenty of room for everyone.


E. McD. Johnstone. The Unique Map of California. [San Francisco?]: Southern Pacific Company and the State Board of Trade of California, [1890].
The New York Public Library, The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.


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