A rare and informative map of Toledo, Ohio, on the cusp of becoming a major Midwest manufacturing center.
In the early 1830s a group of Cincinnati investors began to develop Port Lawrence on the west bank of the Maumee River, several miles upstream from its outlet into Lake Erie. Another group, from Lockport, New York, began to develop an adjacent parcel by the name of Vistula. The two merged in 1833 to form Toledo, with the goal of competing against other Maumee River towns to become the northern terminus of the Miami and Erie Canal then under construction between the Ohio River and Lake Erie (The first map of the merged towns may be viewed here.) Though another site downriver was ultimately selected, Toledo received a sidecut along Swan Creek, whose greater water depth rendered it the de facto canal terminus. With the canal’s completion in 1843 Toledo began a decades-long economic boom, its population soaring from 1200 in 1840 to 3800 in 1850 and nearly 13,800 in 1860.
This very rare map of 1852 depicts Toledo as essentially the sum of its parts, with the streets of the former towns of Port Lawrence (at left) and Vistula (at right) shown awkwardly joined at Orange Street, an arrangement still visible on a modern map. Across the river is Mendota, long since annexed to Toledo. The Wabash and Erie Canal (formerly the Miami and Erie) slashes through the center of the city, with the sidecut to Swan Creek uncolored but clearly visible. Property boundaries are indicated, including both small in-town lots and larger outlying parcels that had not as of yet been subdivided. Buildings are shown in miniature plan view, and a key at lower right identifies churches, schools, hotels and other landmarks. The map is adorned at lower left by a vignette of Toledo Central High School, which was completed in 1853–after this map was published—and burnt to the ground in 1895. An early owner has also altered the course of a (proposed?) rail line entering Toledo from the west and terminating at the docks on the Maumee, and has also drawn in the line of the Toledo and St. Louis R.R. along the Maumee shore south of the city. Within a few years, these rail lines, connecting with the Great Lakes and beyond via the Maumee, facilitated Toledo’s development as a major Midwest manufacturing center.
In some cases landowners are identified, and several parcels south of town have the name “Scott” added in pencil (Jessup W. Scott arrived in the Maumee Valley with his family in 1833, became major landowners and played a prominent role in civic life. Indeed, it seems likely this map was owned by Jessup’s son W[illiam] H. Scott, as a house plan has been roughly sketched in on a parcel belonging to him just west of Territorial Road. William was a realtor and served as president of the Trustees of the University of Toledo, which had been founded by his father.)
Surveyor Henry Hart seems to have had a brief but intense career as a map publisher. In addition to this 1852 map of Toledo, Tooley credits him with maps of Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan—all in 1853!—and that year he also issued a map of Chicago.
Karrow, Maps of the Middle West, #2-2581. As of October 2016 OCLC lists institutional holdings at the Clements Library, Bowling Green Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio History Connection and Stanford, though the listing for the latter four (#46631180) describes dimensions significantly smaller than on our map. A Google search yields another held—for some reason—by the University of Texas at Arlington. Not in Phillips or Rumsey.
Closed tear extending several inches into image at upper left. Some annotations and changes in pencil, with scattered foxing and discoloration.