St. Louis & Environs in 1876
58. [BIRD’S-EYE VIEW]. ST. LOUIS, KANSAS CITY & NORTHERN RAILWAY. GENERAL PASSENGER AGENT (C[harles] K. Lord)]. Sixteen-panel time table with map and bird’s-eye view: [Recto, tabulated route information, ads, promotionals, and map information] [Title] Bird’s Eye View of St. Louis. Map and Time Tables of the St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern Railway. The Great Through Passenger Route to All Points in Kansas, Nebraska New Mexico, Colorado and California. Thos. McKissock, Gen’l Sup’t, St. Louis. C.K. Lord, Gen’s Pass. Ag’t, St. Louis. [top of recto, untitled map showing the route, outline color and shading; neat line to neat line: 14.6 x 44.5 cm, below neat line] Rand, McNally & Co. Map Engravers, Chicago. [Verso, bird’s eye view of St. Louis and environs, in full color] Birds Eye View of St. Louis Showing the New Line of the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Ry. Running into the Union Depot… [circular vignette, top left] View of Bridge From St. Louis [circular vignette, top right] Entrance to Tunnel from Union Depot [key with 15 landmarks designated, left and right of title] 1. U. Depot 2. Four Courts 3. Ent. Tunnel 4. Post Office…. [below lower neat line] Entered according to an Act of Congress in the Year 1876, by C. K. Lord, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. St. Louis: Levison & Blythe Pr[inter]s; Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., 1876. Full color lithograph, border to border: 30.5 x 60.5 cm; overall sheet size: 32.3 x 64.3 cm; folds to size: 16.3 x 8.3 cm. 3 minor voids at folds, otherwise exceptionally fine. Rare and ephemeral item promoting the railroad and emigration.
A colored copy like the present one is held by the St. Louis Public Library. OCLC also locates a copy at the Library of Congress. The LC copy is uncolored, designated as second edition, dated 1876, and published by Woodward, Tiernan, and Hale. Reps (Views and Viewmakers of Urban America 2059) lists the view, but there is no information in Reps to determine if the entry is the present view or the LC uncolored version of the same year. Reps notes locations at LC and the Missouri Historical Society at St. Louis. Both versions are the same dimensions.
The view includes not only St. Louis proper and its closely built structures, but also the surrounding area. To the left is a pastoral region with sparse development, primarily railroads and roads weaving through the landscape. At lower left is “Shaws Gard” (i.e., Shaw’s Garden, now Missouri Botanical Gardens) and at mid-left is Forest Park. The St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Passenger Line winds up as high as Ferguson Station. At lower right is historic Eads Bridge, which when completed in 1874 was the longest arch bridge in the world. The bridge over the Mississippi crosses to East St. Louis, Illinois, where there is a tangled convergence of rail lines. Boats of all types dot the shores of both sides of the river, as other vessels wend their way up and down the river. At mid-background toward the middle are Fair Grounds, North Park, Water Works, etc. An important but unattractive feature of the view is the plethora of smoke and soot, a nineteenth-century sign of progress representing a busy, coal-burning city of industry.
The perspective of the view is different than usually found for St. Louis at that time. One would assume the view would be derivative of Camille N. Dry’s incredible 1875 view of St. Louis in 110 sheets (Reps 2057), but it is not—in either perspective or detail (which is not to be expected, given the complexity and scale of Dry’s view). The maker of the route map on recto, Rand McNally, needs no introduction, but L.U. Reavis (Saint Louis: The Commercial Metropolis of the Mississippi Valley. St. Louis: Tribune, 1874, pp. 211-213) comments on the printer:
No one house has done more to extend the business than that of Levison & Blythe, Manufacturing Stationers, Printers, Lithographers, and Binders, who occupy the extensive premises 217 and 219 Olive Street, having a frontage of fifty feet by a depth of ninety feet, built expressly to accommodate their large and constantly growing business. The basement contains a first-class twenty-five-horse-power steam engine which furnishes the motive power for the numerous presses, cutting and ruling machines…. The fourth floor is entirely given up to the book and job printing department, being admirably adapted to the business, lighted from three sides with a very high ceiling and clear unbroken space from front to rear or side to side; it contains all the latest and most improved presses from the largest Hoe cylinder to the small fast card press of Mr. J.E. Priest who, by the way, is a St. Louis inventor….
The publisher declares: “The tide of emigration has turned toward the great state of Kansas. Now is the time to go, while land is cheap and railroad fares reduced.”
Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009