Sunday, February 13, 2011

Preview: Stunning Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth Stored in Warehouse!

Here's a short preview of a more complete story on these Lost Maps of Fort Worth and Tarrant County:

In December of 2009, I talked to a  a man who had read some of my map comments on Facebook. He told me a few stories of his family who had been in Fort Worth for a long time.  Some were architects, others engineers and builders. He renewed an earlier email invitation for me to come see "some old Fort Worth maps."  We set a time and I drove out to see them on a late afternoon. After getting acquainted for a few minutes I was taken to a dusty warehouse area.  There, setting against the wall was this enormous roller map case filled with what turned out to be seven huge Fort Worth & Tarrant County maps. Wow!

Click to enlarge image

I had heard of these vertical map cases before, but never seen one.  I didn't measure it, but it's probably about 6 feet wide and about that tall as well.  The rolled maps are probably 60" wide and laid on a linen or heavy canvas cloth base. Grubby institutional green paint covers what I think must be solid oak.  The roller mechanism is crude but effective, considering the weight of the maps and still works very well.

Click to enlarge image

The maps in the case are from 1903 to 1925 and are in very good shape considering their age and the fact that they have spent many of their later years unprotected in unheated warehouse areas. I suspect that whole map set was put together in the late 1920's or early 1930's.

Click to enlarge image

Lost?  Absolutely. This case full of maps has essentially been lost to all except a few family members for more than 50 years. Not everyone felt that they were worth keeping but in spite of that they did survive. Some of them may be unique for their time and size.

There is a lot more to add to this story in the near future.  Only a few of the pictures I took that day were really useful. The light in the warehouse was iffy and my camera was probably using the wrong flash settings for the situation.  Even more important than better pictures is a large Fort Worth family history that needs to be filled out and tied to the maps in this case.

At least it's begun.  More to come as the history begins to emerge..

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