Old Historical City, County and State Maps of California

State & County Maps of California

Maps of California are a great resource to help learn about a place at a particular point in time. Old California maps are effective sources of geographical information and useful for historical, genealogical and territorial research.

Our collection of California maps includes many different historic and modern types of maps. The maps date from the 19th century to the present and include:

State Map of California with the counties and the county seats
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State Map of California with the counties and the county seats
  • California Township maps, including maps showing the progress of the original government surveys
  • California Road, Highway and railroad maps
  • California Maps showing the state’s geological features
  • California Nautical charts
  • California timeline of county boundaries changes
  • California Military maps
  • California Maps of specific towns, counties, islands, harbors, and bodies of water
  • Colonial era maps of California
  • Bird’s eye views of California cities and towns

Historical Maps of California are a great resource to help learn about a place at a particular point in time. California Maps are vital historical evidence but must be interpreted cautiously and carefully.

California Maps can be very useful in conducting research, especially in light of the now extinct communities. Also, because old California maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names.

California Map Collections

Several books are helpful in researching the evolution of California.

  • Historical Atlas of California, available in many libraries, provides a basic map reference at different points in California’s history.
  • 1500 California Place Names: Their Origins and Meaning, is an excellent resource for named places and the history behind them.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) website offers for sale topographical maps of California.

Old Historical Atlas Maps of California

This Historical California Map Collection are from original copies. Most historical maps of California were published in atlases and spans over 150 years of growth for the state.

Some California maps years have cities, railroads, P.O. locations, township outlines, and other features useful to the California researcher.

Morse’s 1845 Map of California

  • Map Title:  Map of California.
  • Map Date: 1842 (Entered 1842)
  • Map Locations: California
  • Map Description: Important pre-Fremont map of Upper CA, showing routes to CA. The 2nd Lake Timpanagos is almost gone. Sutter’s Colony shown, before gold discovery. Missions & Channel Is. shown. Indian Tribes throughout. Mt. Shasta is “volcano”. A primitive mountain range is now shown east of the Coastal mountains, blocking the river paths from San Francisco to Salt Lake. The early Spanish Missions in Upper California are all shown.
  • Map Publication: Morse’s North American atlas. Containing the following beautifully colored maps
  • Map Notes:Col. wax engraved map. Relief shown by hachures. Prime meridians: Greenwich and Washington.
  • Map Type: National Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: Sidney Edwards Morse (1794-1871 ) and Samuel Breese (1802-1873)

Colton’s 1856 Map of California

  • Map Title:  Map of California with City of San Francisco
  • Map Date: 1856 (Entered 1855)
  • Map Locations: California and City of San Francisco
  • Map Description: This historic old map of New York State Covers the entire state of New York as well as parts of the adjacent states. Two insets in the lower left quadrant detail Niagara Falls and the vicinity of New York City. Includes Lake Ontario in full. This map also identifies various forts, rivers, mountain passes, fords, and an assortment of additional topographical details.
  • Map Notes: The state and city map in full color by county.
  • Map Publication: Colton’s Atlas Of The World, Illustrating Physical And Political Geography.
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800-1893)

1866 Sketch of Public Surveys Map of California and Nevada by the Department of Interior Land Office

  • Map Title:  Sketch of Public Surveys Map of California and Nevada by the Department of Interior Land Office
  • Map Date: 1866 (Entered 1855)
  • Map Locations: New York City and parts of Brooklyn, Hoboken and Jersey City
  • Map Description: Shows parks, streets, wards, buildings, rail lines, wharfs, and many other features. Inset shows Harlem. Also shows much of Brooklyn, Hoboken and Jersey City.
  • Map Publication: Colton’s Atlas Of The World, Illustrating Physical And Political Geography
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: George Woolworth Colton (1827-1901)

1874 Map of Northern California and Nevada

  • Map Title:  Sketch of Public Surveys Map of California and Nevada by the Department of Interior Land Office
  • Map Date: 1866 (Entered 1855)
  • Map Locations: New York City and parts of Brooklyn, Hoboken and Jersey City
  • Map Description: Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1874 by Asher & Adams. Hand colored engraved map. Relief shown by hachures and spot heights. Shows townships, distances along railroads, etc.
  • Map Publication: Colton’s Atlas Of The World, Illustrating Physical And Political Geography
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: George Woolworth Colton (1827-1901)

1874 Map of Southern California and Nevada

  • Map Title:  Sketch of Public Surveys Map of California and Nevada by the Department of Interior Land Office
  • Map Date: 1866 (Entered 1855)
  • Map Locations: New York City and parts of Brooklyn, Hoboken and Jersey City
  • Map Description: Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1874 by Asher & Adams. Hand colored engraved map. Relief shown by hachures and spot heights. Shows townships, distances along railroads, etc.
  • Map Publication: Colton’s Atlas Of The World, Illustrating Physical And Political Geography
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: George Woolworth Colton (1827-1901)

Mitchell’s 1880 Map of California

  • Map Title:  State, County and Township Map of California with San Francisco, San Francisco Bay and vicinity
  • Map Date: 1880 (Entered 1879)
  • Map Locations: New York and parts of Buffalo, West Troy, Troy, Albany and Rochester
  • Map Description: Detailed map of New York, colored by county, showing towns, roads, railroads, canals, etc. Insets of Long Island, New York Vicinity, Buffalo, Albany and Rochester. One of the most interesting NY atlas maps of the period.
  • Map Publication: Mitchell’s New General Atlas
  • Map Notes:Hand colored map with 5 insets. Relief shown by hachures. Shows settlements, rivers, canals, railroads, etc. Prime meridians: Greenwich and Washington.
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr. (1827-1901)

1900 Map of California, USA from Spofford’s Atlas of the World

  • Map Title:  Map of California, USA from Spofford’s Atlas of the World
  • Map Date: 1900
  • Map Locations: California
  • Map Description:
  • Map Publication: Spofford’s Atlas of the World
  • Map Notes:
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer:

Cram’s 1901 Map of Northern California

  • Map Title:  Northern half California
  • Map Date: 1901
  • Map Locations: California
  • Map Description:
  • Map Publication: Cram’s atlas of the world, ancient and modern
  • Map Notes: In full color on 2 pages. Relief shown by hachures. Shows administrative divisions, cities and towns, railroads, roads, rivers, etc. Prime meridian is Greenwich.
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: George Franklin Cram

Cram’s 1901 Map of Southern California

  • Map Title:  Southern half California
  • Map Date: 1901
  • Map Locations: California
  • Map Description:
  • Map Publication: Cram’s atlas of the world, ancient and modern
  • Map Notes: In full color on 2 pages. Relief shown by hachures. Shows administrative divisions, cities and towns, railroads, roads, rivers, etc. Prime meridian is Greenwich.
  • Map Type: World Atlas
  • Map Cartographer: George Franklin Cram

Map of California County Formations 1850-1925

This Interactive Map of California Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of the California territory in 1850 to 1925.

California County Maps of Road and Highway’s

The California D.O.T. Highway Department does not have California County Maps available at this time.

External California Map Resources

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