Aero View of Middletown, Connecticut, 1915


This panoramic map shows Middletown, Connecticut, as it appeared in 1915. Located along the Connecticut River, Middletown was originally known as Mattabeseck, the American Indian name for the area. Middletown was a port city and had extensive industry. The map shows ships in the river near Middletown, with densely-packed buildings (including homes, churches, shops, industry, and other city facilities) spreading away from the riverbank. The city sprawls into the surrounding hills. A train travels away from the area on the Air Line Railroad. Smaller images above and below the map provide greater detail of various points of interest. At the top are views of Main Street, schools, banks, shops, municipal buildings, and Wesleyan University, which was founded in Middletown in 1831. Below the main map are views of 13 factories and industrial complexes, which turned out lumber, woolens, typewriters, and other products. 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