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2007 Catalog > 30. Beckwith, From the Valley of Green River to the Great Salt Lake.


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30. Edward G. Beckwith. “Map No. 1: From the Valley of Green River to the Great Salt Lake” [Explorations and Surveys for a Rail Route from Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. War Department. Route Near the 41st Parallel] (Washington, D.C.: Selmar Siebert’s Engraving & Printing, 1855). Published in Pacific Railroad Reports, vol. XI (Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 78, 33rd Cong., 2nd sess.). Lithographed folding map in black and white, as issued. 20 1/2 x 18" at neat line. Sheet: 22 1/4 x 19 7/8". Trimmed close at binding edge; small repaired loss at left edge of centerfold, not affecting the map. Excellent.

Price: SOLD.

After the death of Captain Gunnison in Utah during his survey expedition of the 38th parallel route, “the second phase of the central surveys began the following spring,” according to Goetzmann, “when Lieutenant Beckwith explored the Stansbury route [along the 41st parallel] as far east as Fort Bridger. He designated both the Weber and the Timpanagos canyons as practicable passes over which the railroad could pass between the Salt Lake Valley and the Laramie Plains.”

The map offered here is the first of Beckwith’s four maps plotting the survey route along the 41st parallel. Beckwith portrays the region east of the Great Salt Lake to the Green River and south to the Sevier River. The map features tremendous topographical detail, prepared by Egloffstein, for the Wasatch Range east and south of Salt Lake City, which is presented here as a small grid. A “Proposed Railroad Line” crosses the Green River, runs past Fort Bridger to the head of the Weber River, where it splits and crosses the mountains in the two directions that Beckwith recommended. In his report, Beckwith favored the 41st parallel route, and it was roughly the course along which the transcontinental railroad was eventually built.

Refs.: Goetzmann, Army Explorations in the West, pp. 286–287; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. IV, no. 822; pp. 74–76, illus. opposite p. 71.

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