Fun with Old Maps

I follow Historic Map Works on Google Reader and was pleased to see that the site recently added maps of Somerville, Mass., where I used to live. I decided to see if I could find my old address near Inman Square in the new maps available from the 1800s.

The first map (c. 1830) was hardly recognizable to me except for the name Prospect Hill. I lived very near that area.

I needed to see a more recent map to get my bearings. Fortunately, another map, circa 1892, was made available at the same time.

I was still having trouble pinpointing where my house would have been on these maps, which are oriented slightly different from what we see on Google Maps. I lived along one side of a triangle created by Prospect, Webster and Cambridge Streets:

This triangle is visible in both of the 1800s maps, but not in the same orientation. Whereas the triangle above points between 12 and 1 o-clock, on the 1800s maps, it points to 11 o’clock.

If you zoom in on the 1892 map, the triangle is located in the lower right corner, along the Cambridge city line. It’s in the bottom center on the 1830 map.

By the way, Prospect Hill figured prominently in the Revolutionary War. I took this photo several years ago on a walk around town one day: