Bird’s Eye View of Asbury Park, New Jersey, 1881


This panoramic map shows Asbury Park, New Jersey, as it appeared in 1881. The ocean is shown at the bottom of the map, with the town extending away from the shoreline. Asbury Park was established in 1871 as an oceanfront community by manufacturer James A. Bradley (1830–1921), and was named for Methodist bishop Francis Asbury (1745–1816). The town boasted attractions such as a boardwalk with pavilions and a pier. On the map, the town has wide streets, ample trees, and three lakes: “Wesley,” “Sunset,” and “Deal.” A railroad bridge—part of the Central Railroad of New Jersey—spans the largest of the three lakes (Deal), and a train is seen moving toward the town. Numerous figures traverse the streets and enjoy the lakes and beaches. On the lower right are several large empty squares, labeled “Hotel Sites.” An inset image at the bottom of the map shows detail of the Asbury Park educational hall. To the right of the inset image is an index indicating the location of the educational hall on the map, as well as that of the public school and several churches (Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopal, Reformed, Baptist). A notation to the left of the inset image reads: “The growth of this popular seaside resort is unparalleled. There are now over 600 buildings, including hotels. In 1869 it was a wilderness and a barren sand-waste, assessed at only $15,000. In 1880, it was assessed at nearly $1,000,000.” The panoramic map was a cartographic form in popular use to depict U.S. and Canadian cities and towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also known as bird’s-eye views or perspective maps, these works are representations of cities portrayed as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. Not generally drawn to scale, they show street patterns, individual buildings, and major landscape features in perspective. This map is by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler (1842–1922), one of the most prolific makers of panoramic maps. Fowler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, and fought and was wounded in the American Civil War. After working for an uncle who was a photographer, in 1870 he established his own panoramic map firm. Over the course of a long career, Fowler made panoramic maps of cities in 21 states and parts of Canada.

Last updated: August 1, 2017