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Additions to the
Map Collection, 2000

As 1999 began, the staff and some dedicated patrons recognized the dearth of maps in our holdings that recorded the twentieth century. As a century in which technological changes altered the landscapes of the state significantly, visual and legal documentation in cartographic form is vital. Consequently, a concerted effort to collect modern (less than a hundred years old) maps commenced. Over the course of the past year, thanks to staff and patron efforts, the South Caroliniana Library acquired one hundred thirty twentieth-century maps which document the growth of South Carolina's transportation system and tourism industry.

Map of the "Official Atlantic Coastal Highway"
Read more about this 1929 map in Caroliniana Columns
(Spring 2000)
Charleston (S.C.) and vicinity - 70425 Bytes

To avoid repetition and for the sake of consistency, the commercial map collection is limited to one company, Standard Oil which became ESSO and is now EXXON. This notable group ranges from simple highway maps from the 1920s to those which became increasingly detailed as time progressed. Some of the most interesting illustrate "Tourist Attractions" in the Palmetto State. From gardens to stately mansions, the company highlighted the fascinating aspects of travel in South Carolina. And as an offshoot, the same company also produced "cruising guide" maps as well as "upside down" maps showing the best and most direct routes from New York to Florida. These specialized maps also include listings of hotels, auto courts, and repair facilities. Thur far, the Library has acquired forty-four Standard Oil/ESSO/EXXON maps and hopes to find more, especially for the years 1976 through 2000.

Automobile Trail Maps, from the first half of the twentieth-century, comprise another distinctive group. To help motorists find the best routes, automobile enthusiasts and businessmen, often associated with the Better Roads Association, charted road networks nationwide. Designated "trails" or highways, many of these routes had special trip maps with accompanying material listing interesting sites, automobile repair shops, tire stores, restaurants, tourist homes, and motor courts. From icy northern cities to sunny Florida, routes were given intriguing, descriptive names such as Indian and Woody Woodpecker Trails, while highway designations were more self-explanatory, such as Dixie, Ocean, and Appalachian. An unusual and lesser known trail route documented in the Library's map holdings is the Tobacco Trail routing tourists through Florence. Many of these routes simultaneously carried Federal Road Numbers, a result of the proliferation of interstate roads from increased road construction made possible by the 1921 Federal Road Act. Thus, the Indian Trail was also U.S. #1, Ocean Highway was U.S. #17, and Tobacco Trail was U.S. #301, all major north-south routes before the advent of the present interstate highway system.

The most complete series acquired to date is the South Carolina Highway Transportation System Maps. At the beginning of the twentieth century, South Carolina's roads were under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industries. That department produced the first maps of the state roadways, and the Library is fortunate to have several. The advent of the automobile increased the need for good roads. This demand and limited Federal funding in 1916 led to the creation of the State Highway Department, now the Depart-ment of Transportation, a year later. The very year of its establishment, the agency began the annual publication of the "official" highway system maps. The Library now holds seventy-three maps of the eighty-two possible years. Missing are maps for 1921, 1924, 1926, 1936, 1938, and 1943 through 1946. It is likely that no maps were published during World War II, and thus the missing list is even shorter. These maps document in detail the twentieth-century evolution of our state's highways.

Finally, the Library is in the process of acquiring United States Department of Agriculture County Soil Maps from the early 1900s. These colorful maps show roads, houses, churches, and schools in addition to soil types. Not only is county growth shown when compared with the nineteenth-century county maps, but the wealth of detail contributes significantly to these maps' usefulness.

To supplement our county and state maps, the Library is acquiring town and city maps to chart the state's urbanization over the last century. Altogether they will be of immense use to future environmental-ists, geographers, historians, and genealogists. The map collection of the South Caroliniana Library has always been a significant resource, but it is now even more notable for its documentation of modern changes by carto-graphic means.

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