Home Federal Country. Eureka! The Golden State. California.
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Probably the best pictorial map of California from the early 1970s.
In 1973, Home Federal Savings & Loan commissioned two California state maps from the San Diego-based commercial illustrator Darrel Millsap, known for blending Fillmore-style graphic design with thematic cartography. The result was two brilliant, albeit distinctly different pictorial maps: a historical map of California covering the period from 1540 until 1890 and a vivacious pictorial map of the state in a distinct early 1970s style.
We are happy to offer an example of the latter here, as it is one of the best pictorial maps of California that we have seen from this era. It is positively psychedelic: variations in color are almost as rich as the degree of detail. Nevertheless, the composition comes together as a glorious and cohesive whole that transports the viewer back to the early 1970s and the unexpected transition from flower power to disco.
The map is bursting with imagery, much of it humorous and all of it pertaining to the many locations shown on the map. Labels in the form of large stacked block letters identify everything from towns and cities to the state’s natural wonders. Even though an incredible number of places are labeled this way on the map, the most prominent labels indicate the four most well-known places in the state: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Yosemite. Interspersed between the many labels, we find all of Millsap’s comical vignettes, which denote some of the state’s regional characteristics and key features.
Thus, we find viticulturists crushing grapes in Sonoma Valley, an astronomical observatory on the hillside of Palomar, and a surfer riding the waves at La Jolla. Classical California tropes include gold-mining old-timers and their petulant steeds in the mountains above Sacramento and the oil rigs in Bakersfield. Once into the Mojave Desert, Death Valley is marked clearly and endowed with a large bucranium in the sand. Further south, along the San Andreas fault, an overturned salt shaker denotes the Salton Sea.
California’s many tourist attractions are also well represented in Millsap’s exciting composition. Iconic parks such as Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park are there, as are some famous sports venues like Candlestick Park, the Los Angeles Coliseum, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Regardless of where one’s interest in California cartography might lie, this map has something for everyone. Great psychedelic pieces such as this are becoming increasingly rare to find in this condition.
Pictorial maps by Darrel Millsap are generally rare on the market. This particular map is not listed in the OCLC, but a similar Millsap map of San Diego can be found in the David Rumsey Collection (Lis no. 8964.000).