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Rare Louis Nell Washington Survey Map

Detailed map of northeastern Washington, published as part of the Northern Transcontinental Railroad Survey.

The map is bounded by the Columbia River in the west and the Spokane River in the south, and centered on the Colville Valley.

The present map is over printed or annotated with a red grid.

The map appeared in the Northern Topographical Survey Topographical Dept., Map Bulletin No.1, published in 1883, which included 6 maps.

The Northern Transcontinental Survey

The Northern Transcontinental Survey was organized by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1881 and led by Geologist Raphael Pumpelly, whose name appears as the Director of the Survey on this map. 

The survey collected information concerning the topographical and economic features of Dakota, Montana, and Washington territories.  It lasted from 1881 to 1884, during which time there was considerable effort to map the mining regions contiguous to the lines of the Northern Pacific and to promote the economic prospects of the region to investors and land speculators.

Louis Nell

The map is also of note for the involvement of Louis Nell. Nell published his first commercial map in 1868 (Topographical Railroad & County Map of the States of California and Nevada . . . ), before his extensive work for the Wheeler Survey in the 1870s and his Colorado maps of the 1880s.  This map, published in 1882, seems to have been published after Nell's earliest maps of Colorado in 1880 and 1881.


The map is very rare. This is the first example we have ever seen.