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Official Transportation and City Map of Los Angeles California and Suburbs

by Laura L. Whitlock
Los Angeles, California, USA
1911




Remarkable large format map of Los Angeles by Laura L. Whitlock of the Los Angeles Railway, printed by the Times Mirror Printing & Binding House of Los Angeles.

The map focuses on the lines of the Los Angeles Railway (yellow), Pacific Electric Railway (red) and the Glendale & Eagle Rock Railway.

The map illustrates radial distances from downtown. There is a list of Los Angeles Railway lines on inside front and back wrappers.The map is dated 1911, with wrapper stating Revised 1912.

This map shows the remarkable development of the Los Angeles streetcar system as of 1911.

Of equal note, the map is the work of Laura L. Whitlock, "the official mapmaker of Los Angeles County" during the teens and "the only woman map publisher in the country" at that point.

Laura was born in Iowa but migrated west with her mother, first to Nebraska and later to Los Angeles in 1895. She again taught music at 6th and Hill, but by 1901, she took a job at a florist who shared quarters with a tourist information bureau.

In 1907, she was selected president of the Pacific Coast Travel club and commenced her career making and selling maps. During this time she studied all manner of railroad and engineering maps and put together six plates of an official map of the city, while working out of her office in the Los Angeles Times building. Unfortunately, all of these originals were destroyed when the Times building was bombed on October 1, 1910, forcing her to rebuild from scratch, while defending against pirated copies of her maps.

She became an aggressive litigant, preserving her map copyrights. Ultimately inning a substantial.

After the settlement, she set up shop in the Exchange Building where she created this fine map as well as one of the Pacific Electric Interurban Railway System that recalls all of the stations along the routes. The maps were announced in late January 1911 and published the next month with great success. The map seen here is very large and detailed, especially in the rail lines (which were Whitlock's passion). We can see the yellow lines of the LARY (Los Angeles Railway), the red lines of the PE (Pacific Electric) and the black of Glendale and Montrose railway. There is an excellent rendering of the Los Angeles River with many other landmarks present: Exposition Park before the Coliseum, Watts when it was agricultural, the early iterations of Hollywood, the Silver Lake reservoir, and Eagle Rock Valley, along with assorted neighborhoods (Pico Heights, Annandale, Boyle Heights, Arlington Heights). In the upper left is the San Fernando Valley, which became suddenly vital, upon its new nourishment, by the water of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.


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Laura L. Whitlock (1862–1934) was an American cartographer, map publisher, and travel professional. 

Whitlock worked as an "excursion agent" and tour guide soon after her arrival in California, organizing and leading trips to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1895 and 1896, among other destinations. She opened a "travel and hotel bureau" in 1903, in downtown Los Angeles. She was president of the Pacific Coast Travel Club in 1907. She also ran a card catalog registry and information bureau for Shriners visiting Los Angeles for a national conference in 1907. 

She had an office in the Los Angeles Times building when it was bombed in 1910, which damaged some of her work in progress. She nonetheless published an extraordinarily detailed "The Official Transportation and City Map" for Los Angeles in 1911, "the only map containing exclusive electric railway data, as the electric railway officers give no data to other publishers."

Her maps were frequently copied without permission, and she was diligent in her efforts to seek legal remedy. Printer N. Bowditch Blunt was criminally convicted for copying Whitlock's maps—the first criminal conviction for copyright violation in the United States. Whitlock also brought a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Map and Address Company and the Security Savings Bank for copyright infringement when they sold unauthorized copies of her map. In 1918 she sued the city engineer of Los Angeles, alleging that he had copperplates made from some of her maps without her permission; the matter settled out of court. 

P.h.D. research by Kiara M Firpi Carrión
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Last Updated:
3rd of March, 2020

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