Birds-eye view of the Charles River

Walker Lith. & Pub. Co., CHARLES RIVER.  Boston, [ca. 1900.]
Chromolithograph, 19”h x 27”w plus title and margins. About very good, with some mended chipping, edge tears and marginal soiling.

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.

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.” (Boston Lithography, p. 159)

Most views of this sort were issued on thin paper, designed to be folded into paper wraps and issued for use by tourists. This example is printed on somewhat heavier stock and was never folded, making it particularly attractive.