Established through merger in 1862, by the early 20th century the Maine Central Railroad dominated its market, with lines throughout the state and neighboring New Hampshire. It commissioned this lovely bird’s-eye view to build its brand as the “Great Vacation Route to the Nation’s Playground” and demonstrate to well-off Bostonians just how easily they could access the Casco Bay region, Down East Maine and even the White Mountains by means of rail, ferry and steamer connections.
This view appeared in many variant forms, with a range of coloring, adjustments to the steamer routes connecting the islands of Casco Bay, and alterations to the Walker and Maine Central Railroad imprints. As is the case here, the vast majority were printed on thin paper then folded and tipped into card-stock wraps. This example has been removed from its wraps and lined on the back for stability, though the wraps are still present.
George H. Walker & Co. “was the last important lithographic firm to be established in Boston in the nineteenth century” (Pierce and Slautterback). An advertisement in the 1882 Boston Business Directory describes the firm as “publishers and lithographers” doing “engraving in all its branches, map engraving and photo-lithographing.” (Reps) Among other output, Walker issued atlases of Massachusetts and of Essex County, separate maps of Boston and its metropolitan area, and birds-eye views of Boston, Edgartown, Bar Harbor, and Lake Winnipesaukee.
For more on the firm of Walker, see Pierce and Slautterback, Boston Lithography (p. 159) and Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America (p. 37).