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American Shores Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850 The New York Public Library
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Established in 1682 as a Quaker colony by William Penn, the city of Philadelphia site was the previous home of Lenni-Lenape Indians and even a Swedish colony. Philadelphia was the American capital during the American Revolution, and again from 1790 until 1800, at which point the national capital was moved to a newly built Washington City, in the District of Columbia.

Philadelphia is a planned, gridded city, with the population filling the grid from east to west, from the Delaware River shore to the Schuykill River.

Philadelphia, Pa., 1687.
catalog record

This map of Philadelphia was created by Thomas Holme within five years of the founding of the colony, so it is among the earliest representations of that city. At the top center of the map is an enlarged drawing of the early gridded plan for Philadelphia. North is to the left. At bottom center of the map we can see the proposed Philadelphia grid set in the context of southeastern Pennsylvania. Many landowners names are recorded on the map, making this an invaluable record of the early settling of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia, 1840.
catalog record

The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was made up of a group of learned gentlemen who wished to spread good geographical information across the land. They created a series of maps and atlases following the same design scheme seen on this Philadelphia map. Gray, black, and white maps were highlighted in turquoise for water, and in red for political boundaries, such as wards.















For more information on the early mapping of Philadelphia, see the U.S. Library of Congress American Memory website:

To read more about the early mapping of Philadelphia, Pa. consult:

Philadelphia mapmakers Moak, Jefferson M. , c1976 catalog record







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