Old maps of Newton, Boston, and other towns

We went to the West Newton Cinema to see a movie a few days ago, and on the second floor there was a display of art by local artists -- something you definitely won't see at any of the local megaplexes!. Anyway, one of the displays consisted of retouched antique maps of various parts of Newton, Boston, and other nearby towns. The artist is Peter Kastner.

These maps are very detailed. Besides showing the names of streets and schools, they also include the names of property owners and the size of their parcels. They were apparently used for tax or insurance purposes. According to the accompanying note, they were very marked up with old notations, and faded as well. Kastner, who is actually a longtime map collector, has taken the maps, scanned them, and used photoshop or some other program to clean up the marks and brighten the colors. While not art in a traditional sense, they are quite beautiful and very interesting historically.

Kastner operates a website to sell his creations, communityheritagemaps.com. You can see samples of many maps from various districts of Newton, Boston, Belmont, Arlington, Wayland, Watertown, Lexington, parts of Maine, and New York City. Checking out the 1886 map of the northern part of West Newton, I was surprised to see some streets and other geographical features that no longer exist -- including a pond off of Davis Ave., and "Carroll Street", where Warwick Drive is now.

The prices seem reasonable, but unfortunately do not include framing, which can get quite costly. Additionally, Waltham is not represented in his collection -- yet. The website says there is a stack of other maps in his inventory that he has not had time to restore, so maybe we'll see the Watch City in a future restoration.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are looking for a really professional website for these types of maps, check out WardMaps.com www.wardmaps.com. It's run by three local Bostonians, and offers a far greater collection of these "ward maps".

They are also artists and offer in house custom framing, custom maps, and their specialty coasters!

They also have a complete atlas of Middlesex County that includes some Waltham town maps.



Cool find.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool find! But I know of a better one, also run by local Bostonian artists. Check out WardMaps.com www.wardmaps.com. It's a family run business and their collection is far greater.

They offer in house custom framing at very affordable prices, custom maps, card coasters... all kinds of great stuff, especially with the holiday season upon us. I saw them at an art festival in Harvard Square, they are quite professional.

You'd also like to know they have town maps of Waltham from a 1875 Middlesex county atlas.




Cool Blog!

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! I think I saw these ward maps at the Holly Fair in Harvard Square. Too bad about the framing though...

12:27 PM  

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