Historic Maps – Topographical and Geological

Maps are beautiful!

Local atlas and topographic maps provide amazing glimpses into the past – showing the topology, rivers and roads, and even buildings with identifications. These are impressive examples of the cartographic arts, combining lines, text, and symbols with color and shading – all at different sizes and scales – into a coherent and still readable whole.

And geographic survey maps add geological details and more color to visualize the hidden surface structure and rock layers that cross entire states.

USGS Topographic Maps

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has historic topographic maps of the Hopewell Valley area back to at least 1890, as part of a long-term project to develop a complete topographic map of the United States. (Click the links to open the large image files.)

== View the USGS Topographic Maps ==

The 1890 USGS “Lambertville Sheet” map includes much of Hopewell Township, from Lambertville west to Hopewell Boro. In addition to the typology, the maps shows roads and railroads and waterways, plus towns.

Then the 1906 USGS “Lambertville Quadrangle” map adds building symbols – as small squares that show the concentration of housing in towns as development expanded along existing and new roads.

These also show remote structures, including paths up to isolated farms.

The 1907 USGS “Trenton Quadrangle” map shows a larger area, with much of Mercer County, from Trenton up to Lambertville and west to Hightstown. As a result, in includes all of Hopewell Township.

This Hopewell Township extract of the 1907 USGS “Trenton Quadrangle” map shows both the towns and the outlying roads and farms of the Township.

The Description and Symbols information for the USGS topographic maps is from the back of the 1906 USGS “Lambertville Quadrangle” map. It includes an extensive description of the U.S. topographic maps, and explanation of the symbols used on the maps.

New Jersey Geological Survey Maps

Similarly, there are New Jersey Geological Survey (NJGS) and other state maps of the Hopewell Valley area back to at least 1818. (Click the links to open the large image files.)

== View the NJGS Geological Survey Maps ==

The 1878 NJGS Surface Geology map of New Jersey illustrates the ground-level view of the state: terminal moraine, glacial drift (yellow), oak lands (light green), and pine lands (darker green).

In particular, you can see the extent of the oak and pine lands across much of southern N. J., in contrast to the relative calmness of central N. J.

The even more colorful 1912 / 1931 NJGS Geologic Map of New Jersey shows the geology of the state, with strata of sedimentary rocks running diagonally across northern and central N. J., and sand and gravel surface covering across southern N. J.

This Mercer County extract from the 1912 / 1931 NJGS Geologic Map is particularly distinctive, with a variety of different materials across the region, particularly with the structure of the Sourland Mountains.

As a result, we can enjoy these maps both as useful sources for local historical research, and as aesthetic experiences.

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