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Fairbanks Feature: A New Train of Thought – Two Important Donated Railroad Atlases Ready for Patron Use

James D. Van Trump Library | Frank B. Fairbanks Transportation Archive | Fairbanks Features

Showcasing a variety of materials located in the Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive

No. 3 Presentation


Two Important Donated Railroad Atlases Ready for Patron Use

Grant’s Railroad & Business Atlas, with Index to the U.S. and Canada (1887)

Cram’s Standard American Railway System Atlas

Index to U.S., Canada and Mexico Maps, also of Yellowstone National Park (1901)

Modern maps and atlases show major automobile highways; atlases of the late 1800s and early 1900s show the highways of those times––railroad lines. Two very special atlases are available for the patron who visits the Fairbanks Archive. Both are in excellent condition. They are able to be opened and laid flat, so that all lines flow smoothly from one page to the next. The books are oversized, approximately 14 x 18 inches, and in full color. The five photos below show the following:

  • The title pages of both Railroad Atlases. Reading the information on these pages shows the completeness of these volumes that even include the post offices located in the various cities.
  • Page 28 of Grant’s Railroad & Business Atlas, listing the 76 railroads running in Pennsylvania in 1887 and their routes.
  • Judith Esposito holding the Grant’s Railroad & Business Atlas, donated by her to the Archive. This atlas was in Judith’s family for many years and was donated in honor of her father, Lewis H. Anderson (1917-1988), a career railroader.
  • PHLF trustee David A. Vater donated Cram’s Standard American Railway System Atlas (1901) on December 22, 2006, on the occasion of the re-dedication and opening of the current Fairbanks Archive in its present location. On page 58-59 of the atlas, 90 different railroads are shown in operation in western Pennsylvania.
  • Page 500-501 of Cram’s Standard American Railway System Atlas shows a map of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City. Major streets and the rail lines of 1901 are clearly shown in this map.

The Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive is open by appointment on Wednesdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Use of the archive is free to PHLF members (one of the benefits!); non-members are assessed a $10 use fee.

The Archive is located on the fourth floor of The Landmarks Building at Station Square, in the offices of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

To schedule an appointment, email James the Librarian James Halttunen:

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633