This rare wall map of Deerfield, Massachusetts is a detailed 1855 survey of the town and its villages, an architectural portrait of the fine homes, churches and other establishments in town and a Connecticut River Valley vista that captures the dominant profile of the Connecticut River, its tributary the Deerfield River and the surrounding Pocumtuck hills and mountains. The map and inset maps are drawn at two different scales, both of which permit labeling on the respective map each house or building by name. Deerfield Academy is shown both in a large vignette and in plan along with the town's many churches, other schools, and numerous homes. There are several hotels, one adjoining the "Billard & Bowling Rooms". Several train lines serve this prosperous town, whose first train service was only in 1846. There are three inset maps at large scale showing South Deerfield, Deerfield town center and Cheapside Village, a center of industry.
This wall map was printed in Philadelphia at the steam printing plant of Wagner & McGuigan, described by the Library Company of Philadelphia as one of the premier lithographic establishments in mid-century America, an innovator in color lithography and steam press technology and a main rival to P.S. Duval. http://digital.librarycompany.org/
Seventeen large scale vignettes surround the map and create the effect of a scenic walking tour on a summer day of elegant homes shaded by large trees in full leaf, both in South Deerfield and throughout the town. These artistically refined vignettes include Deerfield Academy, the Old House, the Arms Brothers Porte Monnaie & Pocket Book Manufactory, the fine farmhouse and orchard of Zebina Stebbins, the even grander estate of Asa & E.W. Stebbins with its many large barns and acreage, the residence of C.A. Peirce (sic), and of the Rev. John F. Moors to name a few. The wit of the map designer places a deer walking gracefully down Main Street past the home of Howland Cowing. With similar aplomb, men in top hats enter the large, four-columned premises of A.S. Cowing's Store to visit C.A.Pierce Tailor or O.S. Arms Boots Shoes & Leather. A woman formally dressed for shopping in full skirt and jacket with bonnet also approaches these shops. A horse and carriage wait nearby.
Deerfield's churches each with a different steeple design are prominent in these vignettes: the Orthodox Church, the Unitarian Church that has pride of place in the composition of the wall map, Monument Church and the monument commemorating the "...massacre of Bloody Brook in which Capt. Lathrop and 76 men were slain Sept. 18th 1675 (Old Style)".
The Connecticut River is shown in deep blue green, wavy black lines indicating the current. The map shows the Wire Bridge crossing of the Deerfield River. Mountains are shown in hachures and labeled: South and North Sugar Loaf, the Trap Rock Ledges and Pocumtuck Rock, all part of the Pocumtuck Range. In fact, the town's original name "Pocumtuck" was changed to "Deerfield" in 1674.
For a narrative of the history of Greenfield beginning with first contact between native people and the English settlers and up to the late 19th century, see the report of the Massachusetts Historical Commission Reconnaissance Survey, Town Reports. Adding additional perspective to our reading of this map, the MHC Survey states that 17 % of Greenfield's population was foreign born as of 1855 having emigrated from Germany, Holland and Ireland to work in local factories or farms, a fact not discernible from this map that presents established property owners.