LOWE, Theodore H. and Francis F. BRUNÉ
Map of Clear Creek County, Colorado. Drawn and compiled by Theo. H. Lowe and F.F. Bruné, C.E., Idaho, Colorado, Ter.
Louisville: Hart and Mapother Lithographers, 1866. Lithographed map on six sheets unjoined, period hand-colouring in outline, three inset views (two attributed to be after Alfred E. Mathews), within an ornamental border (backed onto linen at an early date, inked library stamp on verso). Sheet size: 75 x 55 1/2 inches (if joined).
An incredible, large-scale wall map of Clear Creek County, Colorado published less than a decade after the discovery of gold in the mining district and at the very outset of the area's settlement: a significant Colorado cartographic and mining rarity.
Clear Creek County, located approximately 30 miles west of Denver, was one of the original 17 counties of Colorado Territory created in 1861. Settlement in the region, however, began in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, when prospectors settled along Clear Creek hoping to strike it rich. The large scale of this breathtaking map, projected at two thousand feet to the inch, allows for incredible detail of the county to be shown in the earliest years of its existence. The county is divided into 32 named districts, with a large unnamed area in the southeastern corner of the region. Mountains are named and beautifully shown via soft hachuring. Towns and creeks are identified, as are the wagon roads to Denver and Central City and numerous trails through the mountain passes. The proposed route of the Pacific railroad is clearly shown following the course of Clear Creek though Idaho to George Town, then back along Clear Creek and through Berthoud Pass to the northwest. Larger ranches are named (particularly in the more remote areas), and several businesses, including hotels, groceries and even a bathhouse, are located. The detail on the map, however, is most evident respecting the county's mining resources, with over 125 individual lodes located and named, plus over 25 quartz mills and several saw mills in addition. Most of the lodes are closely congregated along the Clear Creek west of the town of Idaho. At each of the lower corners of the map are inset views attributed to be after Alfred E. Mathews based on the style and the presence of similar images in his 1866 Pencil Sketches of Colorado. In the lower right corner is a view of Idaho Springs, titled "Idaho The County Seat of the Clear Creek County / Taken from the Illinois Bar" (the county seat moving to Georgetown the year following this map); plate 12 of Pencil Sketches includes a similar view of the town, though from a vantage point south of the town rather than east as in the present view. In the lower left corner is a view of the region north of the town of Empire, titled "Upper Empire and Silver Mountain"; while this view did not appear in Pencil Sketches, Matthews did depict the town of Empire nearby (Pencil Sketches, plate 13). The third inset is an untitled cross-section view of the interior of a working mine, showing a shaft with an adit. A key, located to the left of the mining view, identifies the symbols used on the map and below the key is a listing of the county's mountains with elevations above Denver, with their respective elevations given. Theodore H. Lowe and Francis F. Bruné came to Colorado during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush of 1859. It is assumed that both were trained surveyors, and Lowe seems to have been employed for a time by the U.S. Geological Survey. A printed note in the upper left corner of the decorative cartouche confirms that Lowe and Bruné compiled this impressive map from actual "instrumental surveys" in 1865. Lowe would be commissioned a deputy mineral surveyor in Colorado Springs in 1872, with Brune receiving the same commission in Leadville in 1878. The 1879 Leadville directory lists Bruné as the City Engineer. Lowe's contribution to the development of mining in the region is noted in Frank Hall's early history of the state. "The first discoverer of gold in this region [i.e. Cripple Creek in El Paso County], and also the first to develop the vein formation, was Theodore H. Lowe, a noted mining engineer and surveyor. In October, 1881, ten years prior to any settlement at Cripple Creek, while subdividing some pastoral lands for his uncle, William W. Womack, of Kentucky, in the western part of El Paso county, Mr. Lowe found a detached block of what appeared to be float quartz. Breaking off a fragment, he took it to Prof. E. E. Burlingame, the leading assayer of Denver, for analysis, and in due time received a certificate stating that it contained at the rate of $166.23 gold per ton. Encouraged by this result, he returned to the spot and began searching for the outcrop of the vein whence the 'blossom' had been eroded, and at length found it. Locating thereon a claim called the 'Grand View,' he sunk a shaft ten feet deep, as required by law, and recorded the location in the office of the county clerk at Colorado Springs" (Hall, History of the State of Colorado, [Chicago: 1895], vol.IV, p. 102). In 1881, Lowe would produce an additional map of the region (titled "Map of the Mining Districts surrounding the Townsite of Idaho-Springs"), this time depicting just a portion of the county but on a similar large scale and with a version of the view of Idaho from his 1866 map. (See Streeter sale 2202). We locate but two other known copies of this very rare 1866 Clear Creek County map (Denver Public Library and University of Colorado, Boulder [copies at Bancroft and Colorado Historical Society listed by OCLC are photocopies of original) and find no copies of the map ever appearing at auction.
Not in Phillips, A List of Maps of America,