Fine example of Louis Nell's first map, focusing on the mining regions of Southwestern and Central Colorado.
Nell's map of the San Juan, Gunnison and California Mining Regions is one of the landmark maps in the history of the mapping of Colorado. Prior to 1880,
The map meticulously depicts the geographicaland topographical details of the region, including mountain elevations. Counties are shown in different colors. Nell notes Railroads, proposed Railroads, Wagon Roads, proposed Wagon Roads, Trails, County Seats, Post Offices, Villages, Townships subdivided and surveyed, Contour lines, Military Reservations, Private Grants, areas of each county, astronomical positions, arable lands, and a host of other details.
Shortly after emigrating to the United States, Louis Nell went to work forthe U.S. Army as a chief topographer for government surveys west of the hundredth meridian. From 1871 to 1879, he worked on the Wheeler Geological Surveys, demonstrating his graphical style and acquiring a significant amount of information about the American West , which he later incorporated inti his own cartographic publications. After leaving the Corps of Topographical Engineers, Nell settled in Denver where he produced high-quality maps of his adopted home state.
Nell's work was quickly recognized for its quality and demand for his maps quickly overtook demand for the maps of H. L. Thayer, whose work had previously dominated the commercial map market in Colorado. Nell published 2 maps in 1880, his map of Southwestern Colorado and a map of the White River Indian Reservation, which depicts the White River War (the only recorded example of the White River map is in the US Geological Society).
The White River War, also known as the Ute War, was fought between the White River Utes and the United States Army in 1879, resulting in the forced removal of the White River Utes and the Uncompahgre Utes from Colorado, and the reduction in the Southern Ute bands' land holdings within Colorado. The war signalled the final defeat of the Utes in Colorado, and opened millions of new acreage to white settlement.