1777 Scull and Heap Philadelphia Map
This was in my parents' house as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are looking at this map. My mother bought it, I assume, at some point, but I don't know where, I don't know when. Knowing my mother, I'm assuming she didn't spend that much for it.
Neither I nor my sisters had any idea whether or not this is a reproduction.
This is called the Scull & Heap map of Philadelphia. It's one of my favorite maps, because it so graphically explains what Philadelphia is. Here is the grid plan of Philadelphia, which was established by Thomas Holme, who was one of Penn's surveyors. And it was a great innovation in world history to have a grid pattern for streets. The explanation of how Philadelphia as this downtown area exists between the Delaware River and the Schuylkill River is just a wonderful history lesson. The shaded area here is what is occupied. This was all farmland. Notice there's all sorts of little information on people that lived in this area. There's a pattern here, because most of these are wealthy homesteads, by people who lived in and did business in Europe as well. And so, you have something like, as you go farther up north, here's Germantown on present-day Germantown Pike. Germantown was one of the first suburbs in America to be connected with a major city. So, the map really started almost as a real estate document so people could see what a prosperous place it was, what reputable citizens lived there. George Heap did this picture of Independence Hall. It wasn't called Independence Hall back then, it was called the State House. Now, you wanted to know is this genuine, and the first thing I noticed, if you look right along here, is that it's folded. Now, most of the genuine maps of this sort were folded in half. They survived because they were in an atlas. The other thing I looked for is the answer to the question, Is this a copper plate engraving? Because that's how an original would be made. Just going along here, you can see this indentation. This is where the copper plate dug into the paper when it made the impression for the map. Not only that, it just oozes the feeling of rag paper that would have been used then. So, you've already guessed by now, this is a genuine 18th-century map, dated 1777, done in London by William Faden. What's going on in 1777? The American Revolution. The British are about to occupy Philadelphia. I think a fair retail value on this map is about $9,000.
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