Life

Trove of old maps discovered on Mount Washington

mt-washington-sign-lao.jpgThe Los Angeles Public Library and maps librarian Glen Creason have a few newly acquired maps on their hands. Make that tens of thousands, at least. "I think there are at least a million maps here," Creason said after visiting a small Mount Washington cottage whose late owner, John Feathers, apparently liked hoarding maps. "This dwarfs our collection [at LAPL] — and we've been collecting for 100 years." From an LA Times story by Bob Pool:

Fold-out street maps were stuffed in file cabinets, crammed into cardboard boxes, lined up on closet shelves and jammed into old dairy crates. Wall-size roll-up maps once familiar to schoolchildren were stacked in corners. Old globes were lined in rows atop bookshelves also filled with maps and atlases....

Creason returned to the home Thursday with 10 library employees and volunteers to box up the maps. The acquisition will give the city library one of the country's top five library map archives, behind the Library of Congress and public libraries in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, he said.

As the workers went through the tiny house, they tried to piece together the wanderlust life of John Feathers, the man who amassed the collection, apparently, beginning in childhood.

But they had little evidence to go on, and it remained a mystery exactly how and why he obtained so many maps.

The cottage, which is slated to be torn down and the lot split into two parcels, is near the top of Canyon Vista Drive, next to the Self-Realization Fellowship meditation center, Pool writes. Creason was excited to find four of the first Thomas Bros. guides of Los Angeles from 1946: "Those are very hard to find. The one copy we have is falling apart because it's been so heavily used."

Creason is the author of the 2010 book, Los Angeles in Maps.

LA Observed photo: Mount Washington sign


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