Large Map of Beekman Hill
John B. Holmes, New York: 1870
Large Map of Beekman Place
Large Map of Beekman Place
John B. Holmes (surveyor)
Map of the James W. Beekman, Catherine Livingston, Breevoort & Odell, Spring Valley, Thomas Buchanan, Thomas C. Pearsall, Mount Vernon, & Abraham & William Beekman Estates, Accurately Made from the Most Reliable Data
Miller's Lithography, New York: November 1870
Lithograph
27.5 x 32 inches
Provenance: Steinway Mansion, Queens, New York
Price on Request

Map of a portion of the Upper East Side of New York City, including what is now known as the Beekman Hill neighborhood, showing streets and lots from about 100 feet south of 49th Street to 65th Street, and from Third Avenue to the East River, with small portions of Lexington Avenue also included. As the text at the top of the map explains, large sections that had once belonged to several estates, including that of the Beekman family, had been developed into a residential neighborhood. Along the top are detailed notes of the conveyances when the estates were sold, with the names of the purchasers and which parcels they bought. Areas of the map are colored in shades of red, green, yellow, blue and brown. There is a compass rose and scale at the bottom of the map.

George Glazer Gallery's copy of this map was included in The Greatest Grid, an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (December 2011 through July 15, 2012) of maps documenting the development of the grid system of mapping Manhattan. It is also illustrated and described in the book accompanying the exhibition. Ours was chosen for display since among known examples in various collections, it is in the best condition. The exhibition wall label explains the historical background of this map:

The large farms and estates of the East Side -- those of the Beekmans, Breevoorts, Odells, and others -- were divided into city blocks in the mid-19th century. The winding path of the Old Post Road, a country road, still curves through the center of this map. While some landowners resisted the intrusion of new streets, James W. Beekman, who inherited his ancestral estate (located on the left side of the map) in the late 1830s, took advantage of rising land values. He bought additional neighboring properties, helped prospective buyers finance their purchases, and transformed his family’s estate into a residential neighborhood.

Read more about The Greatest Grid exhibition and book, or order the book here.

This map was part of series drawn by John Bute Holmes, Esq., the City Surveyor, which he began some time before 1870, comparing the large estates then making up most of the city with surveys made in the late 18th century. Holmes's maps enabled a comparison between present-day lot divisions, roads and estate boundaries and earlier ones, as a resource for lawyers, landowners and historians. Fifteen of Holmes’ published maps were listed in an article in The Historical Magazine in 1873, which noted then that Holmes was still at work on the series. This map is number XIII in that article.

Miller's Lithography was a printing company specializing in maps and plans in New York City. It operated under that name or as Miller, Peter & Company from 1834 until at least the 1870s.

Full publication information: Millers Lith. 137 B-way N.Y. J.B. Holmes C.E. & City Surveyor, 47 Exchange Place N.Y.

Condition: Generally very good overall, the colors still bright, with just light overall toning and wear. Red ribbon selvedge replaced.

References:

Ballon, Hilary, ed. The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011. New York: Museum of the City of New York and Columbia University Press, 2012. Item 109. pp. 126-129.

The Historical Magazine, and Notes and Queries, Concerning the Antiquities, History and Biography of America. Vol. 2, No. 4, Third Series. Morrisania, NY: Henry B. Dawson, October 1873. pp. 260, 262. Online at Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=hdoOAAAAYAAJ (18 November 2011).

Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 285-286.


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