AUCTION 23

 
 

Blue Line Map of Southern Marin County, California
Showing the Route of the Crookedest Railroad in the World

 
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309. [MAP]. HANAK AND HARGENS. Road Map of the Southern Part of Marin County California Compiled and Drawn from the Latest Official Data Showing Railways, Wagon Roads, Trails, Elevations. [below title] Copyrighted 1903. Hanak and Hargens 107 Montgomery Str. S.F. San Francisco, 1903. Blue line map of Marin County, showing such towns as San Rafael, Sausalito, Larkspure, Bolinas, etc. and features, particularly Mount Tamalpais, with railroad, trails, and wagon roads delineated; overall sheet size: 69 x 75 cm; folded into original orange printed paper covers (17.8 x 10.4 cm) entitled: Road Map of Marin County and Mount Tamalpais Showing Railways, Wagon Roads, Old and New Trails, Elevations, Springs, and Water Falls Compiled and Drawn from the Latest Official Data Hanak & Hargens 107 Montgomery St. Opp. Occidental Hotel San Francisco. Map foxed and spotted, split at folds (minor losses), tear at upper left (some loss), water staining to one panel, paper covers stained and scuffed. Early ownership inscription of E. Ham, who has signed the map in pencil and outlined a few railroads and trails. A fair copy of a rare survival. Only one copy on OCLC (University of California at Berkeley).

     First edition of one of the earliest road maps of southern Marin County and the incomparably beautiful Mount Tamalpais with its incredible views. The next road map of the specific region (other than official government surveys) we find on OCLC dates from 1953. Mount Tam is the highest peak in the Marin Hills. The railroad shown, which goes to the east peak of Mount Tam, operated between 1896 and 1930, and is known as “The Crookedest Railroad in the World.” The line was a little over eight miles in length, and ran from Mill Valley to the tavern on Mount Tam. The line was renowned for its steep, serpentine route, winding through picturesque terrain to a mountaintop tavern that provided striking views of the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the railroad’s innovations was the use of gravity cars, introduced in 1902, which upon descending the mountain depended on gravity for forward motion and large brakes operated by conductors who had instructions not to exceed twelve miles per hour. As the pencil annotations on this 1903 map seem to indicate, part of the interest in this map and perhaps the reason for issuing it were the local rail developments around the mountain. Incidentally, Mount Tam and environs is considered the birthplace of mountain biking in the 1970s.

     Publishers Hanak and Hargens consisted of Fred Hanak, President, and George Hargens, Secretary. The enterprise was based in San Francisco and specialized in books (especially guide books) and stationery. The firm and the two entrepreneurs can be found in publications such as the 1907 Crocker-Langley Directory; the Merchants’ Association Review (Vol. 7, March, 1903, p. 8); The American Stationer (Vol. 63, 1908, p. 13); and De Witt’s Guide to Central California (1902). The following write-up appeared in San Francisco: The Metropolis of Western America, an 1899 publication by the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco:

HANAK & HARGENS: The great success of this city is due partly to the enterprise of her businessmen. An important branch of trade is the stationery and book-selling line, and a prominent house in this city is Hanak & Hargens, established in 1898, and occupying the lower floor of the four-story brick structure at 107 Montgomery Street, and employing five salesmen. Its trade is exclusively a city one, and it handles books, papers, periodicals, cutlery—in fact, everything in the stationery line. Its specialty is fine art works of all kinds, and German, French and Spanish books. Mr. Hargens is a native of New Jersey, twenty-eight years old, and has been in San Francisco eighteen years. Mr. Hanak was born in Austria, is twenty-nine years, and in this city for eighteen years.

($250-500)

Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,225.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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