It’s hard to believe that May is almost over – only about a day and a half left. With that, it’s time to be changing our Map of the Month. For June, I’ve chosen a plat map of the City of Little Falls. This map was published by Phil S. Randall and R. R. Reilly. It is not dated, which, unfortunately for researchers, is not unusual for maps.
So then, how does one date a map that has no date? You look at the map for clues, of course. The map is definitely post 1890 because it shows land owned by the Pine Tree Lumber Company. Pine Tree moved into Little Falls in 1890, so that’s a starting reference point.
Another landmark could help narrow the date further. The map shows Pike Creek Road, which is now called Lindbergh Drive. If we can find a date for when the name changed, we’d be closer to dating the map. The name could have been changed in 1927, after Charles Lindbergh, Jr. made his historic flight, or it could have occurred later, when the Lindbergh home became an historic site, or when Lindbergh State Park was dedicated. Lots of options there.
The map shows the orphanage on the Franciscan Sisters’ campus. According to the Little Falls Daily Transcript from October 28, 1919, a decision had been made to close the orphanage and build a new one in St. Cloud. Whether the orphanage closed immediately or a while later is something that would need further research.
What is now Highway 27, the major west/east route through town, has changed considerably since the map’s publication. On the east side of town, what is now Highway 27 was called Pierz Road on this map. We could try to figure out when the road changed in order to date the map, but I think we can find some other clues that will be helpful and easier to look up.
The map shows a number of major buildings in Little Falls, including the Northern Pacific Depot on the west side, which was built in 1899 (thus further narrowing the date). The Antler’s Hotel, Historic Courthouse, Central High School, the Fair Grounds, West Hotel, Little Falls House, a bunch of churches, Kiewel Brewery and Hennepin Paper are all shown. What’s more telling is what building is missing – Our Lady of Lourdes Church. This parish was founded in 1917, with the church purchasing the Antler’s Hotel, which is where they held services for a number of years before building their Romanesque-style church. By looking closely at the map, one can read the words “Polish Ch. + Sch.” written on the road next to the Antler’s Hotel building. The new Our Lady of Lourdes building was dedicated in 1923, which means we can narrow the date of the map to between 1917 and 1923. If we remember the date from the closing of the orphanage – 1919 – we could probably assume that the map was made between 1919 and 1923. That’s pretty close when it comes to historical dating – less than 5 years.
Now that I’ve figured out the date through this strange method of triangulation (while writing a blog post, no less!), I’m going to make a note of it and put it with the map. Come on in and check out our latest map of the month. Can you narrow the date any further?