Colton's Florida, produced by G.W. & C.B. Colton in New York in 1874, offers a comprehensive double-page representation of Florida, complemented by an expansive inset of South Florida and the Keys. Distinguished by its county-wise coloring, the map also boasts an elaborate decorative border, testifying to the Colton firm's reputation for combining accuracy with aesthetic appeal.
The latter half of the 19th century witnessed the United States in the throes of Reconstruction, and Florida was no exception. As the nation sought to heal from the ravages of the Civil War, there was a concerted effort to reintegrate the Southern states, both politically and economically. Florida, with its unique geography and strategic position, began to emerge as a significant location for commerce, travel, and tourism, particularly given its proximity to the Caribbean. This map, in detailing the state's counties and highlighting the Keys, presents a vista of a land poised for growth and transformation.
G.W. & C.B. Colton, a prominent map-making firm of the 19th century, was renowned for producing works that were not only geographically accurate but also aesthetically compelling. This particular map stands as a testament to their capabilities.
G. W. & C. B. Colton was a prominent family firm of mapmakers who were leaders in the American map trade in the nineteenth century. The business was founded by Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800-1893) who bought copyrights to existing maps and oversaw their production. By the 1850s, their output had expanded to include original maps, guidebooks, atlases, and railroad maps. Joseph was succeeded by his sons, George Woolworth (1827-1901) and Charles B. Colton (1831-1916). The firm was renamed G. W. & C. B. Colton as a result. George is thought responsible for their best-known work, the General Atlas, originally published under that title in 1857. In 1898, the brothers merged their business and the firm became Colton, Ohman, & Co., which operated until 1901, when August R. Ohman took on the business alone and dropped the Colton name.