This is a great vintage tourist advertisement by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad showing a birdseye view of Washington, D.C. The expansive view of Washington, supposedly the result of two years of ground surveys and sketches, shows many features of the city in minute and fabulous detail. While the claims of the map that it was made by "the greatest Bird's-Eye View artist in the country," that "This Aero View of Washington is the most remarkable map picture that has ever been made" and that "No map view of this vast and comprehensive nature has ever been made of any City" may be subject to some debate, it is indisputable that this is a great map of the American capital.
The map shows Washington as seen from behind the Library of Congress and the Capitol, looking northwest. Downtown is visible in the middle of the image, while the image is framed by the Potomac River and the distant Appalachian foothills. All the great monuments of Washington are visible. Numerous government offices, neighborhoods, and other points of interest are named throughout the map. Montrose Park, Georgetown, and Rock Creek are all shown. Subtle advertisements for various companies can also be found.
It cannot be overstated how minute the detail on this map is. Relative heights of buildings in unimportant streets are shown, along with their shape. For important buildings, detail is accurate and impressive. While this map postdates most of the great city views that strived for accuracy, a tradition dating back to the earliest maps and atlases, it appears contemporaneously with the rise of pictorial maps. It is more detailed than almost any other contemporaneous printed view of a city, and it would not be until the advent of accurate areal photography that another such view of Washington would appear.
The map was first produced in a large format edition in 1921 and 1922. This present edition was published by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the oldest railroad in America and an important link between the midwest and the eastern seaboard. The verso shows the many lines operated by this company on a map of the northeast. Interestingly, the map notes that travelers via Washington D. C. have stop-over privileges, meaning that they can take a layover in the city. This type of promotion remains popular to this day with airlines.