Bird’s-Eye View of Springfield, Illinois, 1867


This panoramic map shows Springfield, Illinois, as it appeared in 1867. The map provides street names, and shows the town in a grid layout, with a dense cluster of buildings near the center. The numbered key at the bottom of the map indicates the main sites of interest in the town, which include the capitol building, the new capitol building, the governor’s residence, the state arsenal, the supreme court, the post office, the court house, various schools, a “home of the friendless,” the water works, the cemetery, Illinois University, hotels, and numerous houses of worship, including Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Universalist churches. Two railroad depots are also listed: the Chicago and Saint Louis Railroad Depot, and the Toledo Wabash and Western Railroad Depot. Several trains can be seen traveling on the tracks through the town. The numbered key also includes the residence of Abraham Lincoln (located at Eighth and Jackson Streets), and the tomb of Abraham Lincoln (on a hill in the upper right corner of the map). With the support of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield became the capital of Illinois in 1837. Lincoln lived here until 1861, when he moved to Washington, D.C. after being elected the 16th U.S. president. The panoramic map was a cartographic form popularly used 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 maps 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 Albert Ruger (1829–99), the first American to achieve success as a panoramic artist. Born in Prussia, Ruger immigrated to the United States and worked initially as a mason. While serving with the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War, he drew views of Union campsites. After the war, Ruger settled in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he began his panoramic mapping career by sketching Michigan cities. In the late 1860s, Ruger formed a partnership with J.J. Stoner of Madison, Wisconsin, and together they published numerous city panoramas.

Last updated: June 9, 2017