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The Silverton or Stillaguamish Mining District

Rare blue printed map of the mining regions of the Stillaguamish Mining District, in Snohomish County.

The map is centered on the South Fort of the Stillaguamish River, with the line of the Everett & Monte Cristo Railway running parallel to the river across the entire map.

The map was drawn by a young Oliver P. Anderson, who would go on to become of the most influential Washington mapmakers, and published her by the Kroll Map Company, who has added their label to the map.

Silverton or Stillaguamish Mining District

The Silverton or Stillaguamish Mining District is loacted near the center portion of the mineral belt of Snohomish County, a continuation to the west of the vast vein of mineral resources of Chelan County.

The first mineral discovery made in the Silverton District was in the summer of 1891, when the Hoodoo ledge was located by Abe Gordon and Fred Harrington . This property, now known as the Hoodoo group, and owned by the Stillaguamish and Sultan Mining Co. embraces seven or more claims =, all patented, located on Hoodoo Gulch, about one mile southerly from the Northern Pacific Railway.

Blueprint maps

Blueprint maps were among the most popular means for the swift printing of maps for which there would be a limited demand. A blueprint map could be made and/or revised much more quickly than a lithograph, cerograph, or other printing method, and at a much lower cost.

Blueprinting as a method was invented in 1842 by John Herschel, a chemist, astronomer, and photographer. A cyanotype process, one starts by drawing on semi-transparent paper, weighted down by a top sheet of paper. The paper would be coated with a photosensitive chemical mixture of potassium ferricyanogen and ferric ammonium citrate. The paper would then be exposed to light, wherein the exposed portions turned blue and the drawn lines, protected from exposure, would remain white.

The blueprint process was an improvement on the expensive and time-consuming method of hand-tracing original documents. The technique was particularly popular with architects; by the 1890s, a blueprint was one-tenth the cost of a hand-traced reproduction. It could also be copied more quickly.   

Blueprint maps began to appear as early as the 1850s and 1860s, but they really began to become the standard for mining and similar limited-purpose maps by the 1880s. The ability to create these maps quickly and at a low cost made them the standard for short-run prints, ideal for mapping mining regions in the West and for similar purposes.

The method still exists today, but in a very limited fashion. In the 1940s, diazo prints (whiteprints or bluelines) became more popular, as they were easier to read and faster to make. The blue lines on a white background of these prints are now what most people call blueprints.


The map is apparently a unique survival. We were unable to locate any other examples of the map. 

Oliver P. Anderson Biography

Oliver Phelps (O.P. Anderson) is one of Seattle's first indigenous map publishing companies. Anderson was an amateur photographer and owner of a photographic supplies business in Seattle in the early 1900s. Anderson first worked as a bookkeeper in Seattle in the early 1880s, though by the end of that decade he was doing business as a draughtsman.

The earliest maps bearing Anderson's name appear in about 1885, including the name "Anderson Brothers." Most of these early maps are blue print maps, a style of mapmaking which was becoming more common in the 1880s with publishers looking to produce fast inexpensive maps that were quickly and easily updateable. This form of map was very popular in the west, where the rapid growth of communities, train lines and mining regions were especially robust. The first map jointly issued by Anderson and Whitworth & Thomson was West Seattle five acre tracts . . ., blue print map of a hand drawn plat map from the records of Kings County, circa 1885.

Anderson formed his civil engineering and map publishing business, O.P. Anderson & Co., in the early 1890s, with the business changing its name to the O.P. Anderson Map & Blue Print Co. by the mid 1890s. Beginning around 1900, Anderson began selling photographic supplies as president of Anderson Supply Co., located at 111 Cherry Street in Seattle.

Around 1913, Anderson's son, Maurice P. Anderson, took over as president of the company, and Anderson acted as secretary-manager, a position he continued to hold until around 1940, probably until his death. Anderson Supply Co. continued to do business, with Maurice Anderson as president, until the late 1950s.