Sign In

- Or use -
Forgot Password Create Account

The Second-Earliest Printed Map of Dallas. One of Only Two Known Copies.

Separately-issued lithographed map of Dallas, Texas by Dallas-based mapmaker Jones & Murphy. This is the second printed map of Dallas, following F. E. Butterfield and C. M. Rundlett's Official Map of Dallas, 1875. Both the Butterfield and Rundlett and the Jones and Murphy maps are exceptionally rare with the former known in one copy (SMU) and the latter known in one copy (UT Arlington, and now this example).

This map of Dallas was published less than 30 years after the town's founding in 1841, just as the town was undergoing its first major boom.   At the time of the publication of the map, the population of Dallas was about 7,000.

The major streets and early subdivisions of Dallas are shown, along with major public and private works (shown with little pictorial vignettes), including:

  • Commerce Street Toll Bridge
  • Post Office
  • Court House
  • City Hall
  • Court House
  • Dallas & Wichita RR Depot
  • Texas & Pacific Depot
  • Houston & Texas Depot
  • Houston & Texas Central Depot
  • Howard Oil Mills
  • Cotton Compress
  • Browder's Springs
  • Waterworks
  • City Park
  • Several Unnamed Churches

Manuscript Annotations

On the linen backing of the map is the ink stamp of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad Company (H & T.C.R.R. Co). The Houston and Texas Central reached Dallas in 1872 and this map was probably used by the company to track relevant developments in Dallas into the 1880s.

The map includes a number of manuscript annotations added by an early owner.  These include:

  • Santa Fe Railroad and Depot (built in 1884)
  • Windsor Hotel
  • City Elevator
  • City Compress
  • Schaefer & ?
  • Adams ?? ??
  • Swingler Bros?
  • T[exas] & P[acific Depot]

Historical Context

Dallas was one of the great American 'boom towns' of the late 19th century and developed rapidly from a small frontier outpost into Texas' most dynamic city. The present map was made at the apex of this exciting period.

What would later be known as Dallas was founded in 1839 by the trader John Neely Bryan, who recognized the site's strategic value, located near one the few fords along the Caddo Trail, along the Trinity Floodplain. Bryan built a trading post and conducted the first survey of the area.

In 1841, a treaty process removed all Native Americans from the Dallas region, thus eliminating most of Neely's customers. He then decided to shift gears and establish a permanent town.

J. P. Dumas surveyed and laid out a 0.5 square mile townsite in 1844, which formed the genesis of modern Dallas' distinct grid street system. Dallas's importance was enhanced upon Texas's annexation to the United States, in 1845, as it acted as a natural nexus between the populated areas of southern Texas and the American territories located to the north and east. It was around this time that the settlement was named 'Dallas' almost certainly after George Dallas, who served as the Vice-President of the United States from 1845 to 1849.

In 1856, Dallas was granted a town charter by the Texas Legislature. By 1860, its population reached 678, including 97 African Americans and many recent European immigrants. Also, by this time, several key stage lines ran through the city and the railroad was in the process of being built towards Dallas from the south.

Dallas was spared any direct involvement in the U.S. Civil War (1861-5) and unlike most other Southern cities flourished during the Reconstruction Period.

By 1871, Dallas's population exceeded 3,000 and its city charter was officially ratified.

In 1873, Dallas became the intersection of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad and the Texas & Pacific Railway, thus ensuring its role as a major transport hub. The city soon became one of the main clearinghouses for Texas's agricultural goods and was the last 'civilized' stop for many Americans traveling to the Southwest. Dallas' population soared racing over 10,000 by 1880.

Unsurprisingly, Dallas became one of the hottest real estate markets in America and vast fortunes were made by those who correctly anticipated the rail routes and the sites where innumerable businesses sprang up in the area. The makers of the preset map, Murphy & Bolanz, were amongst the leading players in real estate speculation during this period, and this map was intended as a propaganda piece to encourage more migration to the city and to gin up property prices.

Dallas' importance was further enhanced in 1880 by the completion of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, under the leadership of Jay Gould. Growth accelerated, and by the time that this map was made, Dallas had a population of around 35,000.

In the late 1880s Dallas real estate firms, like Murphy & Bolanz, would barely have had a chance to list properties before they were snapped up, at ever-higher prices. This created a massive 'Property Bubble' which burst during the Panic of 1893, a nation-wide recession. While Dallas would recover, the Panic had the effect of introducing an element of sobriety to Dallas' economic life.


The firm of Murphy & Bolanz was Dallas's primary map publishing company in the late-19th and early-20th century, which survives until today. The Dallas Public Library houses the Murphy & Bolanz collection, a manuscript collection consisting of real estate maps of Dallas and surrounding communities. The Murphy & Bolanz Company was an early Dallas real estate development firm established in 1874 (and exists today as Bolanz & Miller). The collection includes three additional books, six block books, and an index. The firm used these volumes to trace and record the growth of Dallas. The collection consists of approximately 3,500 maps or about 400 maps per volume.  

The Rarity of the Present Map

The earliest printed maps of Dallas are:

  • F. E. Butterfield and C. M. Rundlett; printed by the St. Louis Democrat Lith. & Print Co. Official Map of Dallas, Texas, 1875. (1875) (one recorded example, SMU).
  • Jones & Murphy. Jones & Murphy's map of the city of Dallas, Texas (1878 and 1882) (with one recorded example of the first edition, UT Arlington, and now this one). 
  • Murphy & Bolanz. Murphy and Bolanz's Official map of the city of Dallas (1887, 1888 and 1891 editions).

The 1882 edition of Jones & Murphy's map of Dallas was prepared for Morrison & Fourmy's General Directory of the City of Dallas, and while still rare is not nearly as rare as this 1878 first edition.

Condition Description
Expertly restored, with minor loss along folds. Backed on original linen.