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How do we get from place to place? The maps in the Transportation and Communication collection document the development of national, state, and local transportation and communication systems. Transportation maps include railways, roads, canals, river systems and even cycling routes. Communication maps illustrate telephone systems, telegraph routes and radio coverage. Studying these maps can help students understand the impact of communication and travel on America’s social and economic development.
Featured Map: Using this 1896 map, let's explore how transportation maps might be used in the classroom. This map was developed to promote the Port Arthur Railroad Route connecting the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroads. Click on the caption below the map for bibliographic information. Click on the map itself to access the zoom view and explore the map in detail. What is the orientation of this map? Where is Port Arthur? What major cities does this route connect? Who created this map? Why was this map created? What was the “Promised Land” referring to? Locate examples of promotional and persuasive text. Was this map meant to be geographically accurate? Why was Uncle Sam’s image used on this map?
Learning More: Explore the wonderful travel and transportation maps on the right. View the maps in the Railroad Maps: 1628-1900 collection. Learn more about the History of Railroads. Locate Additional Transportation and Communication Cartographic Items. Students can use the Primary Source Analysis Tool to analyze these maps.

Travel and Transportation
Uncle Sam and his search light looking over the “Port Arthur” route, 1896
Uncle Sam and his search light looking over the “Port Arthur” route, 1896.
» Railroad map of the United States: 1857
» MORE railroad maps by continent, region or state
» "Traveller's and Tourist's Guide through the U.S. steamboat, stage and canal": 1851
» "Map shewing the several routes proposed from passage of gunboats to the Lakes": 1862
» Harriman Expedition:1899 (Souvenir album documenting a scientific Alaskan expedition)
» Touring Map of the Custer Battlefield Highway: the scenic route to the west: 1925 (road map)