Wyandotte, Michigan, 1896


This panoramic map shows Wyandotte, Michigan, as it appeared in 1896. The city was built on land originally home to an American Indian tribe called the Wyandot. The map shows the city on the bank of the Detroit River, which provides passage for numerous sailing vessels and other ships. An index at the bottom center of the map indicates the location of various points of interest, including schools, churches, city hall, the opera house, and factories. The schools and churches, which include a German Roman Catholic school, a German Roman Catholic Church, and three German Lutheran churches, reflect the large number of German immigrants living in the town. Industry lines the river, and includes the Wyandotte Boat Company, a hoop and stave works, the Eureka Brewing and Ice Works, the Marx Brothers Brewery, a planing mill, an iron ship builder, a rug and robe factory, an iron works, a lumber yard, and the Michigan Alkali Company. At the bottom of the map, two images provide greater detail of the two factories of the Michigan Alkali Works, which were built by industrialist John Baptiste Ford (1811–1903). On the far side of town, two trains pass, traveling in opposite directions on the Michigan Central Railroad and the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. 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: March 3, 2016