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Hometown, USA: Local
The City of Washington Birds-Eye view from the Potomac – looking North. 1892
The City of Washington Birds-Eye view from the Potomac – looking North. 1892
» Panoramic Maps
» Panoramic Photographs
» Detroit Publishing Company
» Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey
» An American Time Capsule
» Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives

What do we think of as "home"? Perspective or "bird's-eye" maps of cities and towns were popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to providing geographical data, they give the viewer a sense of terrain, landscape features, street patterns, individual buildings and transportation systems. The Panoramic Maps, 1847-1929 collection features digitized versions of some of the more than 1,500 panoramic maps in the Library of Congress collection. Studying these maps can help one understand the evolution and development of cities as well as learn about the place we call "hometown."
Featured Map: Using this 1892 City of Washington map, let's explore how a map of this type might be used in the classroom. Click on the caption below the map for bibliographic information. Click on the map itself to access the zoom view. What Washington landmarks existed in 1892? Do they exist today? What modes of land transportation can be observed? Do they differ from those used today? What kinds of activities are taking place on the Potomac? Is there evidence of industrialization in the area? What is the area on the outskirts of the city like? In what ways has Washington changed since this map was made?
Your Hometown: Use the links on the left to locate panoramic maps, photographs and primary source material from YOUR city or state. View the special presentation, Panoramic Mapping, and the Panoramic Maps Collection Connection for more information and additional teaching ideas. Students can use the Primary Source Analysis Tool to analyze maps of their hometown.