“Scientific cartography of the Territory of Utah may be said to date from the appearance of this map.” – Wheat

Map of the Great Salt Lake And Adjacent Country in the Territory Of Utah. Surveyed in 1849 and 1850…


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SKU: NL-00661 Category: Tag:
Date: 1852
Place: New York
Dimensions: 81 x 114 cm (32 x 45 in)
Condition Rating: VG


In 1849, officials of the US Army Corps of Topographical Engineers sent Captain Howard Stansbury and his assistant Liuetenant John Williams Gunnison on a two-year expedition to explore and survey the Great Salt Lake Valley. While the area was not unknown — indeed a major influx of Mormon settlers had already taken place — the end of of the Mexican-America War in 1848 and the massive new western areas gained by the United States, spurned a new era of scientific mapping there.

The map constitutes a comprehensive survey of the Great Salt Lake, the Jordan River, and Utah Lake. It follows the valley, extending north beyond the lake to modern-day Logan and Highway 84 (which follows the same line as the “Emigrant Road” marked on the map) and south beyond Provo (labeled “Utah Settlements”) to Mt. Nebo. It includes town plans and plots for Salt Lake City and Ogden.

In order to complete this ambitious project, Stansbury and Gunnison divided the task. In October 1849, Stansbury undertook a four-week circumnavigation by land of the Great Salt Lake, starting with the most daunting western section first, which was largely inhospitable desert. Meanwhile, Gunnison surveyed the territory to the south including Utah Lake. The winter of 1850 was particularly harsh, and the engineers were lucky to be assisted by the local Mormon settlers, who became important allies to the expedition. The team constructed triangulation stations and accumulated a massive amount of cartographic data.

The map appeared in Stansbury’s account of his travels, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, including a Reconnoissance of a new Route through the Rocky Mountains, which was first issued as a Senate document. The expert topographer Charles Preuss helped create the final maps.

Overall, this was the definitive map of the Great Salt Lake of its time and an essential document reflecting a new understanding of the area.


Charles Preuss

George Karl Ludwig Preuss (1803–1854), anglicized as Charles Preuss, was a surveyor and cartographer who accompanied John C. Fremont on three of his five exploratory expeditions of the American west, including the expedition where he and Fremont were the first to record seeing Lake Tahoe from a mountaintop vantage point as they traversed what is now Carson Pass in February 1844.

Howard Stansbury

Howard Stansbury (February 8, 1806 – April 17, 1863) was a major in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. His most notable achievement was leading a two-year expedition (1849–1851) to survey the Great Salt Lake and its surroundings. The expedition report entitled Exploration and survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah, including a reconnaissance of a new route through the Rocky Mountains was published in 1852 providing the first serious scientific exploration of the flora and fauna of the Great Salt Lake Valley.

John Williams Gunnison

John Williams Gunnison (November 11, 1812 – October 26, 1853) was an American military officer and explorer.

Condition Description

Bright image backed on linen. Some soiling and loss. Usually this map is found on weak, wrinkled paper. An excellent example.


Wheat 764, 765.