S.R. Stoddard of Map of the Adirondack Wilderness 1882, the early second edition, is Seneca Ray Stoddard (1843-1917) an American photographer known for his photographs of New York's Adirondack landscapes, its residents, and seasonal visitors. Stoddard also documented the Adirondack region as an artist, writer and cartographer. S.R. Stoddard's photography, art, writings, poetry, maps, guide books and other art work are now also a museum archive. 1/ These materials at the time they were created in the 1880's and early 1890's were also documentation in service of Stoddard's political advocacy for conservation of the Adirondacks. This advocacy resulted in the New York Legislature in 1892 establishing the six million acre Adirondack Park. 2/ Stoddard's work covers the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. His art, maps, writings and photographs helped to popularize the Adirondacks.
The graphic art in the Map of the Adirondack Wilderness 1882 reflects the many disciplines mastered by its author. The map title's font was designed in a rustic style. In the corners of the map sheet are stylized thorny tree branches. A lace patterned border frames the map. An overlay of a large bull's eye pattern covers the mapped terrain. This graphic device is explained in the map's key: "Air-Line Distances from Mount Marcy are indicated by Circles, 10 miles apart." At the bull's eye of the concentric circles, and the mapped region's center, is Mt. Marcy, elev. 5344' notably the center of the mapped park, but offset from the visual center of the map sheet. Counties are shown in contrasting colors. All other features are black line drawings or lettering.
The scope of the map implies the vast geographic scope of Adirondack Park. Eleven New York counties are included in the map. Lake Champlain's western shore and Lake George are located on the map. The railroad that traverses the eastern edge of the park is the New York and Canada Railroad. Adirondack the town is marked by a big circle. Trails are shown with hatch marks, and include distances in miles between labeled points. An unusual notation is "Windfall of 1845" a large area in the northeastern quadrant shown as two parallel lines.3/ Many camps, including Balsam Grove Camp and summer inns, or "houses" such as Cascade H. and Forge H. are identified. Malone, just below the Canadian border is marked on the map with a town street plan.
Stoddard's map reflects his knowledge from walking the land. This map provides a hiker's level of detail and navigation aids such as the miles by foot on these trails between points. The map and its key indicate railroad stations, with telegraph offices and primary roads provide the traveler with advice for means of access to and within the park by wagon. The map key identifies canoe carries for traveling the park waters. Stoddard's interest in the natural waters and the dammed waters in the Adirondacks is a feature on this map shown as "Flowed Lands of Cranberry and Indian Lakes and of the Raquette River." Rapids are marked as are streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and other wetlands.
Today, this early example 4/ of S.R. Stoddard's Map of the Adirondack Wilderness, 1882 is still a hiker and traveler's map for traversing a park wilderness that is its own country. The map's art and the bull's eye pattern present the Adirondack Park as the center of this universe. The map today embodies the lore and stature of this storied place.
1. Please see the collection of the Chapman Museum in Glens Falls, New York.
2. For a description of the natural features of the Adirondack Park and its history please see the Adirondack Council./www.adirondackcouncil.org/page/the-adirondack-park-19.html
3. The Great Windfall of 1845 - Historic Saranac Lake - LocalWiki
4. Found in institutional collections, including the New York State Library and Harvard University.