Maps tell us many interesting stories about the past. They depict locations, regions and human interactions. Tracing Texas’s history through an examination of its borders tells us as much about the diversity of people settling here as it does the geography. Historic maps highlight subjects such as politics, land use, economics, transportation and patterns of settlement that change throughout the region’s history. Beginning in the mid-1500s, visitors to the exhibit will follow a path of the shaping of North America and Texas through time and the eyes of cartographers from around the world. A selection of exceptional maps on loan from the Holcomb collection includes a British map of North America from 1823 detailing the Louisiana Purchase, maps from the Republic of Texas era, a French promotional map of Texas from 1857, and many others. Another highlight of the exhibit is a rare 1839 map of Houston by A. Girard on loan from Rice University. The Heritage Society will also include its copy of the 1869 Map of Houston by W. E. Wood. It shows the outlines of hundreds of existing buildings and plots of land with the owner’s names. Like most maps, the names of the streets are included, but it also depicts the location of churches, brick yards, stables, hotels, and even cemeteries. So find your way to the exhibit and see the many shapes of Texas!

The Heritage Society is funded in part by a grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.