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Unit 4. Colton’s Map

Colton's Dakota map, 1885
Colton's Map of Dakota, 1885.
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This map was created in 1885 by G. W. and C. B. Colton and Company. George Woolworth and Charles B. Colton succeeded their father as the best mapmakers in the United States during the 19th century. This map measures 14 ½ by 12 ¾ inches. Source: SHSND 978.402 C11c 1885.

Colton’s map is dated before the territory was split in two at statehood. It is a largely political map in that it shows such political boundaries as the territorial border, county lines, and township lines. Sheridan County features Dogs Den Butte which has been present under other names on many earlier maps. Note the towns building approximately every 7 miles along the railroad line as designated by the railroad engineers.

Map Activity: Where are most of the towns located? Why? If you were planning to move to Dakota in 1885 which features on this map would you consider most appealing? Where are the Indian reservations? Compare this map to the 1884 Railroad Map. How do the maps differ?