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[Detail] Bird's eye view of Anniston, Ala. 1888.

Plots and Plans and Travel Writing

The word "plot" derives from the Old English word meaning "a piece of land." Use these panoramic maps as a jumping off point to "plot and plan" a journey across the United States.

Imagine you are taking a journey during the timeframe represented by the collection Panoramic Map, 1847-1929. Use the browse feature of this collection to select two panoramic maps: one of a city from which you will start your journey, and the other of a city that will be your destination. Use these maps, and perhaps others that depict places along the way, to write about a journey. If you are having trouble selecting either a place from which to begin or a destination, just choose one of the two examples below.

[Fort Collins, Colorado. M. D.] Hought[on.

Fort Collins, Colorado, Merritt Dana Houghton, Cartographer, 1865?

San Francisco Bird's-eye view / drawn & lithographed by C.B. Gifford.

San Francisco, California, Charles B. Gifford, Lithographer, 1864.

Davenport, Ia. 1888. H. Wellge, des.

Davenport, Iowa, Henry Wellge, Cartographer, 1888.

Gorham, N.H. 1888. Drawn & published by Geo. E. Norris. The Burleigh Lith. Est.

Gorham, New Hampshire, George Norris, Cartographer, 1888.

  • What is the year of your journey?
  • Why are you making this journey?
  • What route will you take to get to your destination?
  • What form of transportation will you choose? Will you travel by steamer, wagon, or stagecoach? Will you go on foot as did Johnny Appleseed, Elijah Parish Lovejoy, or John Muir?
  • What places will you visit in the towns and countryside along the way? Where will you sleep?
  • Where and what will you eat?
  • How much money will you need to take the journey? Might you barter your work for shelter or food?
  • Who might you expect to meet?
  • What local, national, and international news will you discuss with others along the route? What political and social issues will you discuss?
  • What forms of entertainment might you find? Will you carry a fiddle, harmonica, or another musical instrument with you for entertainment?
  • Would you write letters, keep a diary, send a telegram? What would you write about along the way?
  • Would you read during your journey? What would you read?
  • Where will you live or stay when you reach your destination?
  • What kind of map, or maps, might be useful as you travel?