Old map of Illinois by J. H. Colton, 1855: Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Galena, Quincy
Old map of Illinois by J. H. Colton, 1855: Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Galena, Quincy
Old map of Illinois by J. H. Colton, 1855: Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Galena, Quincy

Old map of Illinois by J. H. Colton, 1855: Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Galena, Quincy

Regular price$49.00
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    The Unique Maps Co. has state of the art production facilities in North Carolina and Michigan, and specialist large format facilities in New Jersey and California. Your map will be printed, framed and personalised in the US.

    Making and dispatching maps locally keeps delivery times down (2 to 3 days) and means your map should always arrive in perfect condition.

    I also have production hubs in 21 countries around the world, which means you can buy this map as a gift for someone and I will make and deliver the map locally. They won't have to pay any tax or import duty.

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    in 2 to 3 days

    Delivery in 2 to 3 days

    Your map should be delivered in 2 to 3 working days with free delivery.

    Express delivery is available at checkout which can reduce the delivery time to 1 to 2 days.

    Please note that personalised maps, and larger framed maps, can take longer to produce and deliver.

    If you need your order to arrive by a certain date, contact me and we can discuss your options.

    Learn more about delivery times

  • Premium hardwood frames

    Premium hardwood frames

    For a limited time, I am trialling premium hardwood frames for framed maps made in the United States.

    These frames are either made from a beautiful light oak, or a very solid-feeling ash with a nice grain.

    If you'd like an oak frame, select 'pick frame colour' and then 'natural wood'.

    If you do not pick a frame colour, you will receive my black ash frame.

    In a few weeks, you will have to pay an extra fee for a premium frame.

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At The Unique Maps Co., every order is processed and made by hand. There is no mass production and every map is custom made to order.

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Custom sizing is free for large maps over 100cm or 40 inches, but for smaller maps there will be an additional small fee.


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Step back in time with this exquisite 1855 map of Illinois, meticulously crafted by the renowned mapmaker, J. H. Colton. As one of the finest American mapmakers of his era, Colton's maps are known for their accuracy and attention to detail. This particular map offers a unique glimpse into the history of Illinois, a region that was still in its early stages of development during the mid-19th century.

The map is a testament to the pioneering spirit of the United States in the 1850s. At this point in history, many settlements had yet to be founded and the landscape was in a constant state of flux. The map reflects this sense of change and growth, with many names and borders likely having changed in the intervening 150 years. The map serves as a snapshot of a moment in time, offering insights into the early development of Illinois and the United States as a whole.

The settlements of Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Galena, and Quincy are prominently featured, providing a fascinating look at the early urban centers of Illinois. These settlements played a crucial role in the state's history and development, and their inclusion in this map underscores their importance. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a map collector, or simply someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship, this map is sure to captivate and inspire.

J. H. Colton's 1855 map of Illinois is more than just a historical artifact - it's a window into the past, a tool for understanding how the United States has evolved over time. With its meticulous detailing and historical significance, this map is a must-have for any serious collector or history enthusiast. Explore the early days of Illinois and the United States with this remarkable piece of cartographic history.

Notable Settlements in Illinois (Pre-1855)

  • Chicago (1833): Known as the "Windy City", it quickly grew from a small settlement to a bustling metropolis due to its strategic location near the Great Lakes and the Illinois River.
  • Peoria (1691): Originally a French fort named Fort St. Louis du Pimiteoui, it's one of the oldest European settlements in Illinois.
  • Springfield (1819): Known as Calhoun until 1832, it became the state capital in 1837.
  • Galena (1826): A major port on the Mississippi River, it was a hub for steamboat traffic and the lead mining industry.
  • Quincy (1822): Known for its German immigrant population and as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
  • Cahokia (1699): Originally a French colonial town known as the Holy Family, it's the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Midwest.
  • Alton (1818): Known for its limestone bluffs along the Mississippi River and as a site of abolitionist activity.
  • Nauvoo (1839): Established by Mormons fleeing persecution, it was once the largest city in Illinois.
  • Rock Island (1835): Named for an island in the Mississippi River, it's known for the Rock Island Arsenal, a major US Army facility.
  • Belleville (1814): Known for its German heritage and as the birthplace of the St. Louis Browns baseball team.
  • Decatur (1829): Known as the "Soybean Capital of the World" and the original home of the Chicago Bears.
  • Elgin (1835): Known for its dairy industry and the Elgin National Watch Company.
  • Kaskaskia (1703): The first capital of Illinois, it was a significant French colonial town.
  • Shawneetown (1748): Known as the "Gateway to the West", it was a major port on the Ohio River.
  • LaSalle (1837): Named after the French explorer, it was a major coal mining center.
  • Bloomington (1822): Known for its agriculture and as the birthplace of the Illinois Republican Party.
  • Joliet (1834): Known for its limestone quarries and as the home of the Joliet Prison.
  • Carbondale (1852): Known for its railroads and as the home of Southern Illinois University.
  • Galesburg (1837): Known for its railroads and as the birthplace of poet Carl Sandburg.
  • Evanston (1854): Known for its temperance movement and as the home of Northwestern University.

Native American Tribes in Illinois (Pre-1855)

  • Illiniwek Confederation: A group of 12-13 tribes speaking Algonquin languages, they were the dominant group in Illinois until the mid-18th century.
  • Miami Tribe: Known for their intricate beadwork and pottery.
  • Kickapoo Tribe: They migrated to Illinois in the 18th century, known for their resistance against American expansion.
  • Potawatomi Tribe: Known for their farming and trading, they were forcibly removed from Illinois in the 1830s.

Notable Natural Features in Illinois (Pre-1855)

  • Mississippi River: A major transportation route for both Native Americans and European settlers.
  • Illinois River: An important waterway for trade and transportation.
  • Starved Rock State Park: Known for its canyons and waterfalls, it's a popular tourist destination today.
  • Shawnee National Forest: Known for its unique rock formations and diverse plant and animal life.

Historical Events in Illinois (1810-1855)

  • Black Hawk War (1832): A brief conflict between the United States and Native Americans led by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader.
  • Illinois becomes the 21st state (1818): Illinois was admitted to the Union on December 3, 1818.
  • Construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal (1836-1848): This canal connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, boosting Chicago's growth.
  • The Mormon Exodus (1846): The departure of the Latter Day Saints from Nauvoo to Utah.
  • Galena Lead Rush (1820s-1850s): A period of intense lead mining in and around Galena, leading to rapid population growth.

Please double check the images to make sure that a specific town or place is shown on this map. You can also get in touch and ask us to check the map for you.

This map looks great at all sizes: 12x16in (30.5x41cm), 16x20in (40.5x51cm), 18x24in (45.5x61cm), 24x30in (61x76cm), 32x40in (81.5x102cm), 40x50in (102x127cm), 48x60in (122x153cm) and 56x70in (142x178cm), but it looks even better when printed large.

I can create beautiful, large prints of this map up to 70in (178cm). Please get in touch if you're looking for larger, customised or different framing options.

The model in the listing images is holding the 16x20in (40.5x51cm) version of this map.

The fifth listing image shows an example of my map personalisation service.

If you’re looking for something slightly different, check out my main collection of USA and North America maps.

Please contact me to check if a certain location, landmark or feature is shown on this map.

This would make a wonderful birthday, Christmas, Father's Day, work leaving, anniversary or housewarming gift for someone from the areas covered by this map.

This map is available as a giclée print on acid free archival matte paper, or you can buy it framed. The frame is a nice, simple black frame that suits most aesthetics. Please get in touch if you'd like a different frame colour or material. My frames are glazed with super-clear museum-grade acrylic (perspex/acrylite), which is significantly less reflective than glass, safer, and will always arrive in perfect condition.

My standard frame is a black wood frame. It is simple and quite modern looking. On maps up to 36 inches (91cm) the frame is 2-3cm (0.75in to 1in) wide. I use thicker frames on larger maps - usually between 35 and 60mm (1.4in to 2.4in).

In all cases I use super-clear acrylic (perspex/acrylite) for the frame glass. It's lighter and safer than glass - and it looks better, as the reflectivity is lower.

All frames are provided "ready to hang", with either a string or brackets on the back. Very large frames will have heavy duty hanging plates and/or a mounting baton. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

See some examples of my framed maps and framed canvas maps.

A few different frame colours are available for free (black, brown, white and natural). Custom framing and mounting/matting is available if you're looking for something else.

Alternatively, I can also supply old maps on canvas, foam board, cotton rag and other materials.

If you want to frame your map yourself, please read my map size guide first.

For most orders, delivery time is about 3 working days. Personalised and custom made maps take longer, as I have to do the personalisation and send it to you for approval, which usually takes a day or two.

Please note that for larger framed orders (over 40in/100cm), and some other framed sizes, the delivery time will be closer to 7-10 days.

If you need your order to arrive by a certain date, please contact me before you order so that we can find the best way of making sure you get your order in time.

I have specialist printing and framing facilities in 17 countries around the world. This means your map will be made locally, which cuts down on delivery time and reduces the chance of your map being damaged during delivery. There won't be any extra taxes or duties to pay, and we'll put less CO2 into the air.

All of my maps are well packaged and sent in a rugged tube if unframed, or surrounded by foam if framed.

I try to send out all maps within 1 or 2 days of receiving your order, though some products (like face masks or mugs) can take longer to make.

If you select Express Delivery at checkout your order we will prioritise your order and send it out by 1-day courier (Fedex, DHL, UPS, Parcelforce).

We can sometimes do next-day delivery if you order before 10am. But usually it's best to contact me first before you order.

Read my full delivery and local production guide

My maps are extremely high quality reproductions of original maps.

I source original, extremely rare maps from libraries, auction houses and private collections around the world, restore them at my London workshop, and then use specialist giclée inks and printers to create beautiful maps that look even better than the original.

My maps are printed on acid-free archival matte (not glossy) paper that feels very high quality and almost like card. In technical terms the paper weight/thickness is 10mil/200gsm. It's perfect for framing.

I print with Epson ultrachrome giclée UV fade resistant pigment inks - some of the best inks you can find.

I can also make maps on canvas, cotton rag and other exotic materials.

Learn more about how the Unique Maps Co. sources and restores old maps

Map personalisation

If you're looking for the perfect anniversary or housewarming gift, I can personalise your map to make it truly unique. For example, I can add a short message, or highlight an important location, or add your family's coat of arms.

The options are almost infinite. Please see my map personalisation page for some wonderful examples of what's possible.

To order a personalised map, select "personalise your map" before adding it to your basket.

Get in touch if you're looking for more complex customisations and personalisations.

If you are not happy with your unique map for any reason, contact me for a no-quibble refund.

I am very confident you will like your old map. I have been doing this since 1984. I'm a 5-star Etsy seller. I have sold tens of thousands of maps and have over 1,500 real 5-star reviews.

I use a unique process to restore my maps that is massively time consuming and labour intensive. Hunting down the original maps can take months. I use state of the art and eye-wateringly expensive technology to scan and restore the maps. As a result, I guarantee my maps are a cut above the rest - that's why I can offer a no-quibble refund.

Almost all of my maps look amazing at large sizes (200cm, 6.5ft+) and I can frame and deliver them to you as well, via special oversized courier. Contact me to discuss your specific needs.

Fill in the form below, message me on WhatsApp, or call the workshop on (718) 412-1214

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