Madison, Wisconsin, 1867


This panoramic map shows Madison, Wisconsin, as it appeared in 1867. The capital of Wisconsin, the city was named for the fourth U.S. president, James Madison (1751–1836), one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Streets in the city are named for the other signers of the U.S. Constitution. In this view, the city is shown situated between two lakes: Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. A bridge crosses Lake Monona in the lower left foreground, and sailing vessels and other ships are visible on both lakes. The index at the bottom of the map lists various points of interest, including the state capitol building, city hall, school houses, the university (the University of Wisconsin), lunatic asylum, courthouse, jail, a soldiers orphan home (presumably for children of soldiers killed in the recently concluded American Civil War), and the railway depot. The churches identified reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the city, and include “Hebrew” (i.e., the Jewish synagogue) as well as Presbyterian, German Catholic, Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Evangelical, German Methodist, Norwegian, Unitarian, and Lutheran. The index indicates that the railway depot was used at this time by the Madison & Prairie du Chien Railroad. In the center of the city, the capitol building is surrounded by a large square. At the bottom of the map are inset images showing greater detail of four city buildings: the Capitol, the Vilas House (a hotel located near Lake Monona), the Rasdall House, and the university. 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: August 17, 2017