Bird's Eye View of the City of Moline, Rock Island County, Illinois, 1869


This panoramic map shows Moline (in Rock Island County), Illinois, as it appeared in 1869. The Mississippi River is in the foreground, with the city of Moline extending away from the water and into the hills. Several vessels are seen on the river, including barges and two steamboats named the Savanah and the Dubuque. Railroad tracks bisect the town and several trains are seen traveling on the multiple lines, which are identified as the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad and the Rockford, Rock Island & Saint Louis Railroad. A bridge crosses the Mississippi River, entering the town near a group of industrial buildings. These buildings, located between the river and the railroad tracks, are identified in the index at the bottom of the map as the Moline Woolen Company, the Moline Plow Company, the flouring mills, the paper mills, and “Deer [sic] & Cos Moline Plow Works.” The latter was the factory established by American blacksmith and manufacturer John Deere (1804–86), inventor of a steel plow adapted to the harsh soil conditions of the prairie and founder of the firm that became Deere & Company. The map index also indicates additional points of interest, including public schools, the railroad depot, iron works, a planing mill, a saw mill, a pump shop, a bakery, a brewery, and several other manufactories. Moline’s churches are indicated, and include Baptist, Swedish Baptist, Congregational, Lutheran, Methodist, Swedish Methodist, Roman Catholic, and United Brethren congregations. In the lower right is seen a company of soldiers or militia drilling with an officer in command, as civilians watch. At the bottom center of the map is an inset image showing in greater detail a public school building. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Ruger & Stoner, Madison, Wisconsin


Title in Original Language

Bird's eye view of the city of Moline, Rock Island County, Illinois 1869

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 43 x 55 centimeters

Last updated: August 17, 2017