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Important Early Promotional Map For The Hotel Del Coronado -- Prior To The Start of Hotel Construction

Rare early variant of this rare promotional broadsheet  produced for the Coronado Beach Company.

On one side is a detailed Map of Coronado Beach, with an inset of Southern California centered on Coronado Beach.

On one side, a full broadsheet map of Coronado is shown.  On the verso, there is a fine regional map of Southern California, centered on Coronado Beach. surrounded by promotional information and a detailed description of the area, including a report of residential lots sold up to January 19, 1887.

Published only 3 months after the initial sale of land in November 1886, the map was issued shortly before the groundbreaking ceremony commencing construction in March 19, 1887.

The map shows the proposed subdivision and development of the island, the proposed site of the Coronado Hotel (future Hotel Del Coronado), etc., with inset of Southern California. The map shows streets, parks, street car lines, bridges, wharfs, a floating bath house and many other details. Unlike many Southern California communities, virtually all of the streets from the original plan were built almost exactly as shown and most of the street names remain unchanged to this date.

Coronado Beach

The idea for the development of the island began in 1884, when Elisha S. Babcock conceived of the idea of the Hotel Del Coronado. Babcock and his colleague H.L. Story developed and idea to purchase the island, subdivide it, sell lots and use the profits to build the hotel. In November 1885, Babcock and Story purchased the land for $110,000. After working a year to prepare the island, the first land sale auction proceeded on November 13, 1886. The first lot sold for $1,600 to Major Levi Chase. Land sales proceeded well over the next several months, allowing the Coronado Beach Company to break ground on the hotel in March 1887. Construction was completed and the hotel opened in February 1888.

Unfortunately, by 1888 Babcock had fallen on hard times. He borrowed money from John D. Spreckels to attempt to save the venture, but was later forced to sell out to Spreckels.


The map is extremely rare on the market.

We have seen several variant editions, but this is the first (and likely the earliest) state we have seen.

There is also a larger version of the map from 1886.

Condition Description
Fold splits and some toning. Minor loss along one fold, near the margins.
Rand McNally & Company Biography

Rand McNally & Co. is a large American map and navigation company best known for its annual atlases. The company got its start in 1856, when William Rand opened a print shop in Chicago. He was joined in 1858 by a new employee, Andrew McNally. Together, the men established their namesake company in 1868. Originally, the company was intended to print the tickets and timetables for the trains running to and through Chicago; their first railway guide was published in 1869.

By 1870, they had shifted from just printing to publishing directories, travel guides, and newspapers. Their first map appeared in 1872 in a railway guide. The map was produced using a new wax engraving method, a cheaper process that gave the company an edge.

By 1880 Rand McNally had entered the education market with globes, wall maps, and geography texts for students. In 1923, Rand McNally published the first Goode’s World Atlas, named after its editor, Dr. J. Paul Goode. For generations afterward, this would be the standard classroom atlas.

In 1899, William Rand left the company, but McNally and his family remained, controlling the company for over a century. In 1904, they published their first road map intended for automobiles and by 1907 were publishing Photo-Auto Guides, which combined photography and mapping to help drivers. In 1924, they produced the Auto Chum, a precursor to their famous road atlases. Rand McNally would remain the leader in road maps and atlases throughout the twentieth century.

In 1937, Rand McNally opened its first store in New York City. Ever on the frontier of technology, Rand McNally pioneered the scribing process for printing tickets in 1958 and printed their first full-color road atlas in 1960. Arthur Robinson developed his now-famous projection of Rand McNally in 1969. By the 1980s, the company was exploring digital reproduction and digital databases of maps for truckers. In the 1990s, they lead the charge to develop trip-planning software and websites. Today, most of its products are available online or in a digital format, including maps for tablets and phones.