‘Every Thing of Interest Shown’: T.M. Fowler’s Bird’s-Eye Views of Pennsylvania, 1885-1905, on exhibit through May 6 on the first floor of The State Museum, showcases a series of bird’s-eye views, or panoramic maps, of Pennsylvania communities as they appeared during the late 19th century.
Views and Viewmakers of Urban America, publishers sent their artists out into the field throughout all parts of the country to draw and market the views. The artist would walk the streets of the town or city, drawing all the buildings and encouraging the citizens to subscribe to the view that would be produced. Once the entire area was sketched and enough subscriptions obtained, the artist would use a standard projection to turn his street-level images into a bird’s eye view.
web site is also excellent, presenting much information and lots of images. The State Museum, along with the Library of Congress, have digitized many of Fowler's prints, shown both in the exhibit and in this blog.