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1873 Map of Garden City Presented to Village

Successful Irish immigrant and Brooklyn mapmaker Matthew Dripps produced a large map of Garden City.

Village historian Suzie Alvey talks about the Dripps Map at a recent village board meeting. (Photo courtesy of Rob Alvey)
Village historian Suzie Alvey talks about the Dripps Map at a recent village board meeting. (Photo courtesy of Rob Alvey)
In 1873 the President of the United States was Ulysses S. Grant. P. T. Barnum's circus, "The Greatest Show on Earth" debuted in New York City. Remington and Sons in upstate Ilion were just starting production of the first marketable typewriter. Following the Civil War, there was a boom in railroad construction with thousands of miles of track being laid across the United States.

A.T. Stewart was completing his railroad as well, and building his planned community of Garden City.

While all these events were happening, successful Irish immigrant and Brooklyn mapmaker Matthew Dripps produced a large map of Garden City. These types of maps were used for fire insurance, reference and general purposes. Dripps is known for his New York City area maps and his career spanned approximately 1850 to the 1890s.

Now, 140 years later, the archivist and the village historian found the Dripps Map in the Village Archives while digitizing photos. Considering it's almost a century and a half old, the map is in good condition with an original fabric back and the front painted with shellac. The front has aged and cracked, but using shellac for preservation was common back then.

A few observations about the map reveals a different layout in the Estates section, with more east-west streets and less north-south ones. This particular layout might explain the fact that there are a number of houses in the section that face 90 degrees to the current roads. The St. Paul's property has two roads running through it on this map. Before Garden City Middle School was built, Rockaway Avenue continued south and merged with the current Cherry Valley Avenue at the traffic light near Adelphi University.

The map can be viewed in Village Hall on the second floor. At the top of the stairs is a key to quite a few roads that have since changed names, with coordinating green numbers on the map. An extra layer of Plexiglas was installed to allow the numbers to not come in contact with the actual map. Low lighting in the area protects the maps. The map and key were framed by Barnes Gallery in Garden City South.

If anyone has any old books, photos or papers relating to anything in Garden City, please call village historian Suzie Alvey. You can donate it or she can photograph the items, while you keep the original. This will be extremely helpful to the archives at the Garden City Public Library and the Garden City Historical Society.

Help us help history!

Drew Art Guy @ Sunflower Fine Art Galleries January 11, 2014 at 12:44 PM
As the Gallery director of Sunflower Fine Art Galleries, Mirrors and Picture framing, find it troubling, in many ways almost scandalous, that this map was framed (for profit) by a merchant OUTSIDE the Village. Our Village Historian used the services of a framer that pays zero Village taxes, contributes little to our Village lifestyle, organizations and charitable events - by action or location - is not part of the fabric of our beloved community! If one would ask any of our local: school, church, business, government, athletic, civic organizations ..etc., am quite confidant they will all attest to the consistent generosity Sunflower Fine Art.
Drew Art Guy @ Sunflower Fine Art Galleries January 11, 2014 at 01:07 PM
The author should also be aware the the statement 'low lighting protects the maps' is a falsehood. The only way to properly protect and archivally conserve ( within AIC guidelines and accepted standards) would be to protect the maps though the use of UV filtering Conservation plexiglass along with acid-free museum mounting. Understanding that environmental factors beyond UV light will also need to be accounted for in proper conservation and display.
Suzie Alvey January 12, 2014 at 08:52 AM
Drew, As someone who always "shops in Garden City first," we DID go to your shop. We compared prices and found Barnes Gallery to be the most reasonable. With the historian's small budget, we have to be very careful how we spend our money (which is what the public expects), since this framing job was a substantial portion of it. As with the Dripps Map, we will consider your shop as well as others for the next project.

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