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Historical Context

A bird’s eye map shows a place from an aerial perspective. Imagine looking out over a city as a bird high in the sky. It’s likely mapmakers obtained this view through hot airbollons. Mapmakers practiced this method of maping for centuries. However, bird’s eye maps didn’t became popular until the late 19th century.

During this time, small towns and urban centers all over the United States clammered for bird’s eye view maps. One reason for their popularity is that the maps offered buisnesses and organization a great way to promote themselves. As a result, businesses, churches, and individuals paid money to the mapmaker to have their buildings included. In sum, these maps are often an idyllic view of a place, showing progress, peace, and wealth.

Learning Objectives

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Primary Sources on Michiganology

Adrian is spelled out at the base of an illustration of a building at Adrian College.

Adrian

Description

Printed black and white birds-eye-view of the city of Adrian, Michigan.

Collection

Adrian

Date

1866
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The bottom half reads

Birds Eye View of the City of Lansing

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Lansing, Michigan.

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The bottom reads

Birds Eye View of Jonesville

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Jonesville, Michigan.

Date

1872
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Ilustrated ariel view of trees, green medow, and one street. Botoom reads

Birds Eye View of Saline

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Saline, Michigan.

Date

1872
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At the top reads

Petoskey in 1880 [Birds Eye View]

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Petoskey, Michigan.

Date

1880
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Bird's Eye View of Montague, Muskegon Co., Mich.

Bird's Eye View of Montague, Muskegon Co., Mich.

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Montague, Michigan.

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Bird's Eye View of Whitehall, Muskegon Co., Mich.

Bird's Eye View of Whitehall, Muskegon Co., Mich.

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Whitehall, Michigan.

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Houghton, Mich. [Birds Eye View] Population 2500

Houghton, Mich. [Birds Eye View] Population 2500

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Houghton, Michigan.

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Panoramic View of the City of Coldwater

Panoramic View of the City of Coldwater

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Coldwater, Michigan.

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Benton Harbor, Mich Looking North West

Benton Harbor, Mich Looking North West

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

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Birds-Eye View of Muskegon Michigan From Muskegon Lake Looking East

Birds-Eye View of Muskegon Michigan From Muskegon Lake Looking East

Description

Printed birds-eye view of Muskegon, Michigan.

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