Historic & Historical Maps Wisconsin – Old Maps – County Maps


Free online old maps of Wisconsin; historic & historical. Includes county maps. From the 1800s and 1900s. Gazetteers at the bottom of the page.

Find the Directory for 90+ pages in this collection at History of the Great Lakes States.


The works below are in three sections; ‘Old Wisconsin Maps and Atlases’, online ‘Collections of Old Wisconsin Maps and Atlases’ and ‘Old Wisconsin Gazetteers’ (geographical directories). See the right column for more info about this website.


Old Wisconsin Maps and Atlases

Facsimile of a Map of Father Marquette

Wisconsin Historical Society
1673

Between May and September 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet crossed what is now Wisconsin and traveled down the Mississippi River as far as Arkansas before returning; they were the first Europeans to do so. This is a facsimile of a map believed to have been drawn by Father Marquette describing their travels. Recognizable features include Green Bay, the Fox and Wisconsin River portage, and the Mississippi River, called here the Conception.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Map of Wisconsin-Minnesota region, extending from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan west to Lake du Bois, White Bear Lake, and Goose Lake

Wisconsin Historical Society
Created by Carver, Jonathan 1769

This map is an early-20th-c. photostat of a manuscript in the British Library. From 1766-1768, Carver traveled down the Fox-Wisconsin route, up the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, and north to Grand Portage on Lake Superior, returning to Mackinac along the lakeshore. In 1769 he went to London, where he drew this map to illustrate his travels. A revised version of this map appeared when his book was published in 1778.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Plan of Captain Carver’s Travel in the Interior Parts of North America in 1766 and 1767

Wisconsin Historical Society
Created by Carver, Jonathan 1778

This map comes from Jonathan Carver’s book Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America. The book and accompanying maps, which can be found on this website at the ‘Great Lakes – Explorers and Travelers‘ page, played a major role in how people thought of the western side of the continent until expeditions were able to travel there themselves. Carver never made it much past the Mississippi, but accounts and tales that he gathered were used to make a map that went all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Map of the Territories of Michigan and Ouisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Created by Farmer, John 1830

John Farmer established his map company in Detroit in 1825, and his popular, accurate and detailed maps publicized the states of the Northwest Territory and encouraged settlement. The multitude of detailed notes on this map refer to explorers like Stephen Long and Henry Schoolcraft, name many Indians, and point out many geographic and cultural features.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Collected Newspapers and journals in historic Wisconsin

A Map of a Portion of the Indian Country lying East and West of the Mississippi River

Featherstonaugh. 1835

This includes all the rivers in the region, and the approximate locations of Native American tribes.

Map of the Territory of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Burr, David H. 1836

This map shows various Indian land cessions in the Wisconsin Territory, which in 1836 included what is now Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota. It accompanied a government report recommending the establishment of a government surveyor’s office west of Lake Michigan to survey the ceded lands and make them available for sale to settlers.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

See our collected links to Online Collections of Military Maps

Map of the Settled Part of Wisconsin Territory

Rumsey
Creator: Young, James Hamilton 1838

Ten years before statehood, settlement in Wisconsin was almost entirely restricted to the area south of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. The inset map shown here depicts the original extent of the territory, including parts of what are now Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota.

Map of Historic Wisconsin Territory

Find 14 more subject pages of books and articles about Wisconsin at the History of the Great Lakes States Directory.

State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Lapham, Increase Allen 1852

Increase A. Lapham’s many activities included map-making, here represented by one of the first maps of Wisconsin published in the state. This map is based on the reports of U.S. General Land Office surveyors, and incorporates the most recent information on roads, topography and settlements.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Colton’s Township Map of the State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Colton, George Woolworth 1854

This 1854 brightly-colored map exhaustively marks the townships, county towns and villages of Wisconsin. It also shows rivers, canals, railroads, and plank roads. Each county’s population, farms and productive establishments in 1840 and 1850 are listed in the top left corner of the map, along with a chart showing the state’s caucasian, free colonists and slave population in the two respective years.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Books and articles on Local, City, and County History in Wisconsin

Sectional Map of Wisconsin

David Rumsey Map Collection
Chapman, Silas

Silas Chapman published an 1855 map of southern Wisconsin to be used with his 1855 edition of Handbook of Wisconsin (on the Wisconsin General History page of this website). This 1856 edition of his map extends to the northern part of the state.

County and Township Map of the States of Michigan and Wisconsin

Philadelphia: Gamble 1880

High resolution image of color map.

Map of Milwaukee County

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Lipman, Louis 1858

This 1858 map of Milwaukee County and eastern Waukesha County shows sections, towns, cities and villages, roads, railroads, railroad stations, post offices, lakes and streams, prairies, wetlands, and selected churches, schools, taverns, and justices of the peace. An inset shows the plat of the village of Wauwatosa.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Books and articles on Exploration & Travel in Historic Wisconsin

Redding and Watson’s Map of Racine County, Wisconsin from Actual Surveys

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Redding, T. B. 1858

This 1858 map of Racine County, Wisconsin, shows land ownership and acreages, the township and range grid, towns, cities and villages, roads, railroads, schools, mills, churches, cemeteries, residences, marshes, timber lots, and lakes and streams. Text provides a description of the county and a history of the city of Racine and illustrations depict buildings in Racine. Inset maps and business directories are provided for Racine, Rochester, Burlington, and Waterford and a table lists the value of manufactures in Racine for 1855.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Map of the City of Madison, Dane County, State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: McCabe, P. 1855

Madison was booming in the 1850s, helped by the efforts of developer Leonard Farwell. When famous journalist Horace Greeley visited Madison, Farwell printed 10,000 copies of this map, prominently featuring Greeley’s approving comments and extolling the city’s many advantages.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Map of Milwaukie

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Martin, Morgan Lewis 1833

In July 1833 Morgan L. Martin, land promoter and speculator, visited the site of Milwaukee and drew this map, the earliest known depiction of the city. Notable features include the trading posts of Jacques Vieau amd Solomon Juneau. In October 1833 Martin and Juneau formed a partnership to develop the site.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Creator: Robertson, George James 1854

Although published in New York, this bird’s-eye view of Milwaukee is extremely faithful to detail. Drawn in 1853 and published in 1854, it shows more than 1,000 buildings. In 1937 the Milwaukee Sentinel issued a facsimile of it on which they identifed nearly 70 structures. This original version contains no explanatory text or identifications.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

View of the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Historical Society
Publisher: J.T. Palmatary 1856

This is a bird’s-eye view drawing of the city of Milwaukee in 1856. It depicts houses, churches, buildings, roads, trees, waterways and the Lake Michigan harbor.

Caspar’s Guide and Map of the City of Milwaukee

Directory of Streets, house numbers and electric car lines. with special diagrams of the 28 car lines

Milwaukee: Caspar 1904

Also, “Interesting facts in and around Milwaukee”, public buildings, blocks, halls, parks, gardens, points of interest etc. Includes “a complete list of all Electric Street Car Lines, their starting points, routes, terminals, time tables, fares, etc. of the entire Trolley system and every tramway operated in and about Milwaukee”.

Map of the La Crosse and Milwaukee Rail Road and Connections

Library of Congress American Memory
Colton, Joseph Hutchins, NY 1855

Map of the northeastern and north-central United States indicating major drainage, larger cities, state boundaries, and the railroad network.

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40 subjects, plus online map & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

Map of the United States’ Lead Mines on the Upper Mississippi River

Wisconsin Historical Society
Created by Chandler, R. W. , Cincinnati: 1829

This map was published in 1829 by R.W. Chandler, a pioneer settler of Galena, Ill., to illustrate the Lead Region. It is based on an earlier map by surveyor Lucius Lyon. The map shows the locations of many of the early lead mines (diggings), the names of pioneer settlers, and extols the possibilities of the region.
– Summary from Wisconsin Historical Society site.

Interactive Map of Wisconsin County Formation History

Map of US.org

Scroll part-way down this webpage for the interactive online map, which shows the changing county borders over time, from 1790 to 1961. You can also see the county boundaries in each census year from 1790 to 1920.


Collections of Old Wisconsin Maps and Atlases

Milwaukee Map Collection

Milwaukee Public Library

45 maps of Milwaukee, virtually all from 1914-1974.

Maps of Milwaukee – 1836 to the Present

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Libraries

Approximately 77 maps of Milwaukee and surrounding area, from the city’s founding in the 1830s until 2015.

Sanborn Maps of Milwaukee, 1894 and 1910

University of Milwaukee Libraries

The Digital Sanborn Maps of Milwaukee 1894 & 1910 are two fire insurance atlases featuring detailed color maps of Milwaukee. Produced by the Sanborn Map Company, the 1894 atlas includes four volumes, consisting of 450 map sheets and the 1910 atlas includes eight volumes, consisting of 830 map sheets. Sanborn maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents with insuring property. They contain a great deal of information about buildings and infrastructure.

Wisconsin Historical Maps and Atlases

Historic MapWorks

Historic MapWorks provides an enormous collection of online maps and atlases. According to the site, the state of Wisconsin collection contains 1,484 atlases, and within the atlases are over 105,000 historical maps, illustrations and histories.

Maps and Atlases Collection

Wisconsin Historical Society

3,700 maps and atlases in a searchable collection.

Please visit our Century Past Free Online Library, with thousands of books to read online or download

54 Panoramic maps or Birds-eye views of various Wisconsin cities and towns

Library of Congress
Various publishers and years of publication

Many of these are highly detailed pictures showing all buildings. The viewer at this site enables high-resolution zooms.

Old Maps Online

This is a collaborative portal for accessing a number of online map collections worldwide. U.S. collections include;
The David Rumsey Collection
Harvard Library Collection
New York Public Library Collection
Leventhal Map Center at Boston Public Library
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center


Old Wisconsin Gazetteers

Wisconsin Gazetteer, containing the names, location and advantages of the counties, cities, towns …

villages, post offices, and settlements, together with a description of the lakes, water courses, prairies, and public localities, in the state of Wisconsin, alphabetically arranged

Hunt, John Warren
Madison: Brown 1853

This gazetteer contains a surprising depth of detail on many Wisconsin towns at mid-century.

Centennial 1876 directory of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, containing full directories of Fond du Lac, Ripon, Waupun, Brandon, Oakfield, New Cassel, Calvary, St. Cloud, Dundee, Calumet, Rosendale …

and other centers of trade and all the farming portion of Fond du Lac County; each in a department by itself, arranged in alphabetical order, and contained in one closely printed volume

Fond du Lac: M. G. Tousley, 1876


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