For this blog post, I thought I’d highlight a style of record we have here at the archives that receives less attention than many of our other collections and archives- the maps and plans. Maps and plans can shed insight into the knowledge of the times of the area and the landscape, and the extent of exploration and societal interaction that was occurring. Plans typically focus on proposed construction projects, or architectural designs for buildings and other structures. The breadth and depth of the types of maps and plans here at the archives is one of its greatest strengths. We have maps of the UP, of Lake Superior, of the Marquette area, of individual localities such as farms, as well as forestry and property maps, in addition to numerous differing mining-related maps, maps of the University here and aerial views over time, and much more. Some of these maps even go back into the 1700s, making them some of the oldest materials we have at the archives! Below are pictured a small sampling of such maps.
Here is a map of the U.P. and Lake Superior from the 1900s.
This map from the 1700s (in French) is one of the oldest maps we have. Members of our staff are currently working on specially preserving it to ensure it lasts in years to come. The artistry and the knowledge of the time make this map especially interesting. Many of the maps we have are found in our map cabinet in the processing room, and all are accessible to the public. One large collection is Archiv-016. It contains maps and plans from the Marquette area, Delta and Menomonee Counties in the UP, the Upper Peninsula, Michigan and Wisconsin, and the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
This map is a map of some of the different copper mines in the Keweenaw Peninsula of the UP from the 1860s to the 1960s. Cool stuff! This map was only just “discovered” as I went through some two-to-three dozen unprocessed maps and plans currently sitting on top of our map cabinet which for varying reasons were never properly catalogued or accessioned. So, I’m going through them. First, I check to see if they’re in our Archives Space database. If not, I determine whether they can be grouped with existing collections or if new accession records need to be made.
A more local chart here, this one shows a proposed floor plan for a building at the Sawyer International Airport near Gwinn from ca. the 1970s.
Come and check out these maps and more at the Archives!
Written by Stefan Nelson