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Railroad Map of Texas in 1881

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326.     [MAP]. LANGERMANN, A.B. The Railroad System of Texas on September 1st, 1881, Galveston. Compiled for the Galveston News by A.B. Langermann. Scale: 32 inches to One Mile. Rand, McNally & Co. Map Publishers and Engravers, Chicago [left side outside neat line] Chart Showing the Railroad System of Texas. As It Actually Exists on September 1, 1881 [right side outside neat line] 1634 Miles of Railroad Completed During Year Ending August 31, 1881—1389 Miles Now in Operation in the State. Galveston, 1881. Wood-engraved map, neat line to neat line: 48 x 48 cm, within eight-page folio (73.8 x 57.4 cm) issue of newspaper The Galveston Daily News for September 1, 1881 (Vol. XL, No. 139). Printed on inferior quality newsprint paper, browned and split at folds, but professionally stabilized. A difficult map to find, especially in situ in its original issue. Holdings for nineteenth-century Galveston newspapers are scant, due to the inferior wood-pulp on which they were printed, the punishing humidity and heat of the Gulf Coast climate, and subsequent weather catastrophes.

     The present map was published in 1881, as here, within The Galveston Daily News, and as a separate. There is also an 1883 railroad map of Texas by Langermann. Day, Maps of Texas, p. 103. The newspaper issue of the map is the most desirable, including copious text on the various lines and the entire system; this text is not found in other versions of the map. In fact, the railroad system and its relation to the commercial prospects of Texas are the entire focus of this issue. There are articles on each of lines, descriptions of each station along the routes, and interesting articles, such as “Artesian Wells for Railroad Water Supply.” In essence, this issue of the newspaper constitutes an extensive promotional on Texas commerce and her railroad system. The extensive ads include land agents (such as the Southwestern Immigration Company), surveyors (e.g., the great old Texas firm Maddox Brothers), dealers in hides and wool, and numerous cotton commission merchants, the latter demonstrating that cotton was still king.

     The Galveston Daily News, founded in 1842, is “the oldest surviving paper in Texas” (Sibley, Lone Stars and State Gazettes, p. 324). The present map appeared at the moment of the city’s zenith. By 1880, Galveston was the largest, most progressive city in Texas with 22,248 people, and the railroad system was vital to the city’s rise and the maintenance of its supremacy. The present map sets out in bold relief the existing and projected lines, eight of which roll inexorably to the Houston-Galveston region, creating the “octopus” effect referred to by some Texas railroad historians. The focus of the map is solely on the railroad system rather than topography, political boundaries, or watersheds. Each station includes the distance from the starting point of the line. All lines are connected, except for the Gulf Western Texas & Pacific.

     The map was made by A.B. Langermann, who worked at the General Land Office of Texas and with Charles W. Pressler on his incredibly rare and detailed eight-by-eight-foot map of Texas. Langermann published his own pocket map of Texas in 1879, based on the larger map he made with Pressler (Day, Maps of Texas, p. 124 & Phillips, America, p. 848). In the 1880s, Langermann was a land agent with the New York & Texas Land Company (successor to the Land Department of the International & Great Northern Railway Company). He was active with the German immigration organizations in Texas at the time.


Sold. Hammer: $300.00; Price Realized: $360.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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