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View, Great Plains, Union Pacific Railroad, Antique Map, Chicago, 1890s

The Great Plains, on Union Pacific Railroad
[Knight, Leonard & Co., Chicago: c. 1891-95]
15.5 x 35.25 inches, image
18 x 36.5 inches, overall

Large pictorial bird’s-eye view map showing a section of the Great Plains traversed by the Union Pacific Railroad, which operated a key section of the first transcontinental rail line, completed in 1869. The map covers the area roughly bounded by Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City; Denver, Colorado; Cheyenne, Wyoming; and Sioux City, Iowa. Rivers and towns are labeled, mountains are shaded, and each town is represented by a tiny illustration of a building, with larger cities represented by clusters of buildings. State lines are not indicated. The map is shaded in yellow-green, which fades to a pale tint at the top, creating an illusion of perspective. The sky is a pale blue with faint clouds. The title appears in block letters in the lower margin flanked by a pair of emblems of “Union Pacific: The Overland Route,” beneath which are the slogans “World’s Pictorial Line.”

Product description continues below.



This map is a separately issued promotional print and apparently extremely rare. Although it lacks publication credits, maps of the same basic design, printed in more colors and with thick red lines added to indicate rail routes, were published by Knight, Leonard & Co. for the Union Pacific Railroad on the backs of folding timetables issued in the early 1890s.

Knight, Leonard & Company was a Chicago printing firm founded by Charles Egbert Leonard (1829-1896). Trained in the printing trade, Leonard was active as a newspaper publisher in Michigan and Iowa before moving to Chicago in 1863, where he and his partner H.B. Horton operated as Horton & Leonard. Charles A. Knight purchased Horton’s interest in 1873 and the company’s name was changed to Knight & Leonard, continuing under that name until early 1891 when it was changed to Knight, Leonard & Company, even though Knight had retired at the end of 1890. The company was dissolved in 1895.

Condition: Generally very good. Recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with only light remaining toning, wear, handling, and also professionally laid on Japanese tissue for support and stability.


“(Birdseye view Great Plains).” David Rumsey Map Collection. (27 August 2019).

“In Memoriam — Charles Egbert Leonard.” The Inland Printer. January 1897. Vol. 18, No. 4, p. 427. Online at Google Books: (27 August 2019).

Additional information


19th Century