1907 birds-eye view of the Charles River, annotated by an early user

Geo. H. Walker & Co. Lith., CHARLES RIVER [:] CARRIES SHOWN BY RED LINES. Boston: George H. Walker & Co., 1907.
Chromolithograph, 19”h x 26 ¾”w plus title and margins. Tipped into buff card stock wraps.

An interesting bird’s-eye view of the Charles River and Boston’s western suburbs looking southwest from an imaginary point high over Waltham, encompassing much of Dedham, Natick, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Wellesley and other towns. Through it all winds the serpentine Charles River, passing landmarks such as the Waltham Watch Factory, Norumbega Park and the dam and industrial complex at Newton Lower Falls. Particularly striking are the many rail lines, which in the 19th century stimulated the rapid growth of many of the towns shown. Red lines in several places indicate dams requiring short portages.

This example of the view is particularly interesting for its numerous ink notations by one Irving Whiting, reflecting his experiences on outings in September 2014 and May and July 2015. Whiting has carefully noted the locations of hazards in the river, numerous springs, and a campground and suspension bridge in the vicinity of Needham.

According to Pierce and Slautterback, George H. Walker entered the publishing business in or around 1879, and his firm continued in operation until 1927.

“George H. Walker & Co. was the last important lithographic firm to be established in Boston in the nineteenth century…. Walker maintained a consistently high quality of workman-like draftsmanship by employing experienced artists. Joseph L. Jones, C.E. Jorgensen, Richard P. Mallory, F. Pond, and Albert F. Poole drew for the firm. The company is represented in the Boston Athenaeum collection by numerous portraits, sheet music covers, book illustrations, bird’s-eye views, maps, plans for cemeteries and housing developments, and views of residences and factories.” (Pierce & Slautterback, Boston Lithography, p. 159)