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Category: American History

Detail of map of the southern portion of Michigan's lower peninsula, Ohio, and northeast Indiana, with counties labeled and colored. The region of the Toledo Strip forms the southern parts of Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Monroe Counties in Michigan.

If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Forget Toledo

Posted by: Amelia Raines

When Ohio became a state in 1803, breaking off from the Northwest Territory, parts of the border remained ambiguous. Three decades later, this ambiguity led to a conflict between Ohioans and Michiganders which became known as the Toledo War. In the state’s enabling act, the northern boundary of Ohio was defined as “an east and …

The earliest extant plan of Washington DC, known as "The L'Enfant Plan" with annotations of editorial changes by Thomas Jefferson.

Francophone Folly in the Capital City

Posted by: Carissa Pastuch

Last Monday Americans gathered again after a two-year hiatus to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain. Flags and fireworks flew over our nation’s capital to mark the anniversary of when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776), which announced the colonies’ separation from Great Britain, and precipitated the American …

Detail of printed map of Florida. The Everglades bear the label "Extensive inundated region covered with pine and hummock islands, of all sizes, and generally called The Ever Glades."

Swampland in Florida

Posted by: Amelia Raines

Recently I came across an interesting map of Florida in our collections. Dated 1823, the map was made only four years after the territory of Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain, and 22 years before it became a state in its own right. The map, authored by surveyor Charles Vignoles and engraved …

Colored map showing the city of Boston in the center with buildings, surrounded by a river.

John Bachmann’s Bird’s Eye Views

Posted by: Meagan Snow

John Bachmann, a Swiss born lithographer, moved to the United States shortly after 1848, and went on to produce a series of bird’s eye maps that depict American landscapes in ways that were groundbreaking around the mid-nineteenth century. His work blurred the line between cartography and fine art, and his landscape prints are held by …

Initial design plan for landscape architecture of Chicago South Park Chicago.

Chicago’s South Park by Fredrick Law Olmsted

Posted by: Carissa Pastuch

During the month of April, the Library of Congress celebrated the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903), farmer, journalist, publisher, conservationist, and the first American landscape architect, who designed the grounds surrounding the U.S. Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and many other notable public and private green spaces. To celebrate, the Great Hall …

Map showing proposed national highway route in green

Maps of the Good Roads Movement

Posted by: Meagan Snow

In the early 20th century, most of America’s rural roads were constructed of gravel or dirt, causing slow travel and muddy roads. As new modes of transportation blossomed in cities – cars, bicycles, trolleys, and paved streets – a political movement called the Good Roads Movement aimed to connect rural areas with local cities via …