“Bird’s-Eye View” of Kingston, 1875

Herman, Brosius, map, aero, view, bird's, eye, nineteenth, century, Kingston, OntarioWell over a century before Google Earth and Google Maps allowed you to look down on your community, your neighbourhood, your street, your own (or a neighbour’s) back yard, one Herman Brosius, among others, enabled your great-great-grandparents to engage in something quite similar. That is, to gaze down from above, upon the community they resided in. The maps were non-photographic representations of cities known as perspective maps, aero views, or bird’s-eye views and were extremely popular in the nineteenth century.

A lithographer by trade, Brosius was active during the 1870s and into the mid 1880s, he authored a number of such views all over North America. Although his topography may have left something to be desired at times, over all, his lithographs are remarkable for their general accuracy, with individual buildings standing out distinctly, while architectural styles are easily discernible. One that clearly falls into this category is the “Bird’s-Eye View” of Kingston. Published in 1875, by Herman Brosius (he appears to have rendered 15 lithos of Ontario cities alone, between 1872-1876), it still possesses a fascination and reveals surprising insights to those who view it today. It remains a remarkable historical resource for those persons, across many disciplines, who wish to study and research this City’s rich past.

Queen's Archives

Queen's Archives regular column on Kingstonist showcases our city's rich history via assets sourced from their vast collection. Their contributions stimulate dialog regarding the places, people and events that have shaped Kingston. Learn more about Queen's Archives...

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