The Definitive Survey of the Central Rockies of the 19th Century.
Extremely detailed map of the western portion of Colorado, based on the survey by F. H. Hayden, one of the great surveyors of the American West during the 1870s.
Published in 1881, this map shows the region in question at a more detailed and more accurate scale than any preceding map. The map stretches from the Book Cliffs and Green River in Utah in the west to Snowmass and the area just west of Aspen in the east. Southwards, the map stretches to the San Juan Mountains.
Topography is shown, as are rivers. Settlements are nearly non-existent on the map, given the remoteness of the area at the time. A proposed extension of the Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road is shown. The San Juan Purchase is delimited.
The Hayden Survey of Colorado
The late 1860s and early 1870s saw four great surveys of the American West: the King Survey, which mapped the region around the 40th parallel; the Wheeler Survey, which attempted (unsuccessfully) to map the whole of the territories and western states at a moderate scale; the Powell Survey, which focused on the southwest and the Grand Canyon region; and finally the Hayden survey, which surveyed the territory of Colorado as well as the last great unmapped region of the Lower Forty-Eight: the Yellowstone Basin.
The Colorado survey was sandwiched between Yellowstone surveys and conducted in the years 1873-75. Hayden expected Colorado to soon become an important region because of the arrival of the railroads, and thus decided to expend enormous resources in order to create what would be one of the most extensive regional surveys anywhere in the world.
Each year, Hayden would subdivide his team into four groups, each consisting of a number of geologists, cartographic experts, and scientists, with each group assigned to a specific area. Hayden would always reserve the most interesting of the regions for himself: that is how he came to personally map the area around Aspen. The details of this survey are immensely interesting. Please refer to Thomas P. Huber's work, linked to in our references, for more information on the survey.
Thomas P. Huber has a fantastic description of the Hayden survey at the following link: https://haydenslandscapes.com/intro