The Texas General Land Office has been selling map reprints since 2002 with sales numbers jumping around November and December. James Harkins is with the Land Office and says many of their holiday orders come from customers across the pond.
“And that’s because during the 19th century there was a mass immigration movement into Texas from Europe and there are dozens of maps of Texas that were written in German that talked about what a great place Texas is. That the hills in the hill country remind Germans of what it’s like back in Germany.”
In this digital age of Google Maps and Sat Navs, not many people carry maps in their glove compartment anymore or even own a map. Harkins says that’s probably why their old maps are so popular.
“There’s a map that I’m looking at right in front of me that is a map of Houston in 1900, that we had never seen before, and I’d be willing to bet that there’s very few other people alive today who have seen this map of Houston from 1900, that shows the downtown area that shows the railroad going through.”
Two of the more popular maps from the Houston area are Harris County in 1893 and an 1873 birds-eye view of the city.
The most popular Texas one is an 1849 map, which shows a colorful Republic of Texas when the northern boundary reached all the way to present day Wyoming.
To search for maps, place orders, or donate to the Save Texas History Program, visit www.savetexashistory.org or call the Land Office toll-free at 1-800-998-4GLO.