A detailed plan of Boston published in 1775 in the Gentleman’s Magazine and showing streets and street names, landmarks such as the Liberty Tree and Long Wharf, and numerous fortifications. Charlestown, destroyed during the June 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, is shown “in Ruins.”
The then-geography of the city is striking. At the time, the city was essentially an island linked to the mainland via a narrow causeway. Plan of the Town of Boston thus provides a kind of geographical baseline from which to examine later images of the city, as it predates the extensive filling that created South Boston, Back Bay, and much of East Boston.
The plan was issued in the October 1775 number of The Gentleman’s Magazine, one of three maps illustrating successive issues and designed to present “a perfect Representation of the present Seat of War in America.” At the time, the American Revolution was in full swing: The battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill had occurred in the Spring, and a British army in Boston was under siege by the nascent Continental Army under George Washington. Readers of the Gentleman’s Magazine, hungry for news from the Colonies, would have reviewed this map with considerable interest.
This plan used to be encountered quite frequently on the antiquarian market but in recent years has become surprisingly scarce.
Jolly, Maps of America, #260