Views of towns and cities may have been the most popular category of printed images in nineteenth century America. They have also been known as bird’s eye views, perspective maps and aero views. Although not drawn to scale, they show street patterns, buildings and major landscape features. These views hung in homes and businesses. They represented for many Americans in the nineteenth century the result of industrial development and of rapid economic growth and prosperity. City views compressed commerce and industry into neat, decorative scenes reflecting the well-being of Victorian America. Panoramic maps graphically depict the vibrant life of a city. Busy harbors speeding trains, factories and people on the move were vividly portrayed. Advances in the field of lithography made it possible to produce multiple copies of a view. For a suitable fee, the map artist would include illustrations of private homes in the main city plan thereby allowing a proud citizen to point to his property or business on the map. The most prolific artists and publishers of views were Thaadeus Mortimer Fowler, J.J. Stoner, George Norris, George Walker and Albert Ruger.
Augusta in 1823
From a painting by Cyril Searle, 16 x 24 cm.,
and from: James North, History of Augusta, Maine, facsimile of 1870 ed. (Somersworth, NH: New England History Press, c 1981)
Augusta, Maine, 1823