National Geographic : 1948 Dec
Mapping Our Changing Southwest BY FREDERICK SIMPICH EARLY MAPS show California an island. Boston was 200 years old when men still believed "Buenaventura River" rose in Utah and flowed west to Golden Gate. When Gen. William H. Ashley camped on Utah's Green River in 1825 men thought rafts could float from there down to St. Louis! And St. Louis itself was 60 years old before we were sure Great Salt Lake existed! Men still living remember when the first railroad crossed our continent and when some now populous Southwest cities were mere vil lages. Phoenix, Arizona, had only 3,152 inhabit ants in 1890; now, with close to 100,000, it's one of our most crowded cities. Los Angeles, in 1880, had 11,183 people, and now its area population may be 4,000,000. Yet our Southwest echoed to the tread of Spaniards in coats of mail decades before Pilgrims landed or Capt. John Smith built huts at Jamestown.* Hernando de Alarcon explored the Colorado Delta in 1540. Juan Rodriguez de Cabrillo landed at San I)iego, California, in 1542; two years earlier Francisco Vazquez de Coronado had crossed from Mexico into what is now Arizona, hunt ing the fabled "golden cities" of Cibola. No maps we know were left by Coronado, whose colleague, Garcia L6pez de Cardenas, found the Grand Canyon. But modern his torians, mapping Coronado's march from the narratives, show he got as far east as Kansas. Oldest and Newest USA Abodes With this issue of the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC MIAGAZINE is published a new map of the Southwest.t It shows scores of towns which didn't even exist until after transcontinental railways reached southern California in the 1880's. In contrast, it shows others, some of Pueblo Indian origin, which are among America's oldest human abodes. This map replaces an earlier one of the Southwest and takes its place among The Society's large-scale maps of regions of the United States. Previously issued in this series were Northeastern United States; South eastern United States; South Central United States, and North Central United States. The new map is 342 x 2312 inches. It charts the Southwest on the Albers conical equal-area projection on the scale of 1:2,500,000, or 39.46 miles to the inch. Like others in the series, this map serves as an authoritative, detailed reference to the area covered. New Works of Man Shown The up-to-the-minute road compilation in red digests information given by recent official State road maps and includes the best routes into Mexico. Latest census figures and esti mates governed the selection of towns shown. Railroads, canals, dams, and other colossal works of man, numerous here, are marked. The Southwest region includes the Rockies of Colorado and New Mexico, the Sierras of California, the Grand Canyon of Arizona, and the Basin Region of Utah and Nevada, with its Great Salt Lake and Humboldt River. Its incomparable topography is shown in blue line and brown shading. Together with the other regional United States maps, this sheet makes an important contribution toward the never-ending endeavor to map the ever-changing, rapidly growing United States. This new chart includes Arizona, New Mex ico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. These six States have a total of 21,000 miles of railways and some 313,000 miles of highways. More than 13,226,000 people, or about nine percent of our total population, now live in this area. Nevada, least settled of all our States, with fewer than two human beings per square mile, has 139,000 of these, and California has about 10,000,000. More startling than amazing population growth are the changes men steadily make in the aspect of this arid empire. Warnings to "Take Plenty of Water with You" are posted along highways that lead into some dry, desolate regions; on the other hand, many once-dreaded deserts now yield enormous shares of our food and fatten much of our livestock. Salt River Valley, Arizona, and Imperial Valley, California, are good examples. Behind big dams vast lakes rise * See "Seeing Our Spanish Southwest," by Frede rick Simpich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, June, 1940. t Members may obtain additional copies of the new map of Southwestern United States (and of all stand ard maps published by The Society) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, I). C . Prices, in United States and Possessions, 50c each on paper; $1 on linen; Index, 25 ( . Outside United States and Possessions, 75( on paper; $1.25 on linen; Index, 50c. All remittances payable in U. S. funds. Postage prepaid.