Map engraved by Jonathan Goldthwait. Inset upper left: untitled view of Court Square, "Engraved by R[obert] O'Brien from a sketch by [Richard] Elwell."
This map depicts the town of Springfield, MA, in the mid-1830s. Favored by its central New England location, cheap power afforded by the Connecticut and Chicopee Rivers, and the presence of a Federal arsenal, the town was home to thriving printing, machine manufacturing, and other industries. The map is quite informative, showing the street plan and hundreds of area businesses, schools, churches, taverns, dwellings, and landowners. Goldthwait, the map's engraver, worked hard to fit residents’ names on the map even in the most densely populated areas, and the engraving is astonishingly minute. An inset at upper right depicts the site of the Federal arsenal in Franklin Square, near the present-day intersection of State and Federal Streets. The map is a very early printed plan of Springfield, preceded only by a smaller map produced by Samuel Bowles in 1827. It differs in format from most printed Massachusetts town plans of the early 1830s, which were produced on a fairly standard format to satisfy a requirement imposed by the state legislature in 1830. Those plans adopted a scale of 100 rods (ca. 1/3 mile) to the inch; carefully indicated surveyed boundaries; used an array of symbols to indicate topographical, cultural and economic features of the landscape; and were usually printed by one of the major Boston lithographic firms. Colton's map conforms with none of those features, though it may have been based on the “official” survey. George Colton (1793- 1839), a Springfield merchant who held numerous civic posts, had surveyed the towns boundaries in the early 1830s. Colton is described in the family genealogy as: "[Born] 29 Sept., 1793, in Longmeadow, Mass.; mar. Lucretia L. Hoyt, in Springfield, Mass., 11 Sept., 1816…. Lived in Springfield, where he was a leading and valued member of the community. He was noted for his industry, accuracy and honorable business dealings. He d[ied] in Springfield, 5 Sept., 1839." (George Woolworth Colton, A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Quartermaster George Colton, p. 271). The map shows a George Colton residing on Main Street, between Central and Union. References: OCLC #62888822 (giving examples only at Boston Public and Harvard). Published in David Bosse "The Earliest Printed Maps of Springfield, Massachusetts," Imprint Vol. 41, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 15-25.