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Historic Maps from the Texas Land Office

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  • FMikula@aol.com
    Historic Maps thru the Texas Land Office - Just thought this might be of interest to some of our Listers. Ol e Frank, of whom there is less and less! Now down
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 15, 2004
      Historic Maps thru the Texas Land Office - Just thought this might be of interest to some of our Listers.
      Ol'e Frank, of whom there is less and less! Now down to 38" waist from 46" last Jul 1st! Off topic, but I'm pretty darn happy about it!
      More than 200 historic maps have been adopted through the General Land Office's successful Adopt-A-Map Program. This program is a public/private partnership which allows Texans to make tax deductible contributions toward the preservation of the agency's important historic maps and documents.

      Forty-four of those maps already have been conserved, scanned and their images placed on the Land Office Web site for easy viewing access by the public. Five other conserved maps are too large for scanning, and the Land Office is studying ways to digitally reproduce them for Web use.

      The Adopt-A-Map program was launched in 2000, and its success has outpaced the conservators' abilities to keep up with the number of maps adopted. To date, more than $200,000 has been donated.

      Maps already conserved include eight maps of Texas, a very early map of Galveston Island, an 1892 handmade copy of Stephen F. Austin's Colony, maps of the Bexar District in 1839 and the Robertson District in 1846, a mid-19th century map of the city of Austin and county maps of Bell, Bosque, Bowie, Brazos, Burnet, Cameron, Coke, Comal, Dallas, Ector, El Paso, Erath, Fannin, Fort Bend, Galveston, Garza, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Kaufman, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Lampasas, Midland, Nueces, Parker, Tarrant, Travis and Van Zandt. A map of the Capitol Land Reservation - land in the panhandle used to pay the contractor who built the state capitol - was cut into three parts sometime in the past. It has been restored and digitally pieced back together so that the public may see the map as it was originally intended.

      Printed color copies of these maps and others that currently do not need conservation are available to the public at affordable prices, and proceeds go toward the preservation of other historic maps and documents at the Land Office.

      Under the Texas Natural Resources Code, the Land Office may accept donations from the public to conserve the maps. The donations are tax deductible, and donors of $500 or more will receive a commemorative copy of the map they "adopt". Texas companies, historical and genealogical activists, chambers of commerce, civic groups, local governments and individuals have donated to Adopt-A-Map. A fourth grade class from Highland Park Elementary in Austin and the Jourdanton High School Science History Club donated funds as class projects. A number of individuals have donated to preserve important land grant documents and sketches documenting their families' early settlement of Texas. Other families have "adopted" maps in honor of their parents and friends.

      Frost National Bank sponsored a ten-month advertising campaign for the program in Texas Monthly magazine in the December 2001 issue. Showcasing the maps adopted by Frost.

      The Texas Society of Professional Surveyors (TSPS) and its members statewide have donated more than $40,000 to the program and are among its strongest supporters. Other major donors include the law firm of Gardere, Wynne, Sewell L.L.P of Dallas and Houston; Republic Royalty Company of Dallas; the Temple-Inland Foundation; the Hoppess Foundation; and Mrs. Howard Barr of Austin, who donated funds to conserve important county maps drawn by her father and grandfather, both longtime draftsmen at the Land Office in the 1800s.

      Many of the 500 historical maps to be restored are manuscript - or hand-drawn - maps. Others are early lithograph maps. They include maps of the earliest settlement colonies, the districts that pre-date the current counties, county maps, city maps and state maps. Well-known cartographers like Charles W. Pressler, Jacob De Cordova and Robert Creuzbaur drafted some. A few were drafted by William S. Porter, better known as short story writer O. Henry, who was a Land Office draftsman from 1887 to 1891, and Conrad Stremme, the architect who designed the old Land Office building, who was a Land Office draftsman from 1855 until retirement in 1874.

      Last updated 20 November, 2003
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