Maps offer a whole different dimension to studying and understanding the history of the Pacific Northwest.

The map collection in the Northwest Room has a variety of maps that cover different aspects of exploration and development of the region.Some of the finest maps in the collection are those produced for railroad surveys, the Mullan Road, and the Pacific Wagon Roads. Other maps depict expeditions, such as the one led by Charles Wilkes from 1838 to 1842, and the travels of David Thompson during the fur trade years. As might be expected, there are many maps of early day Spokane and Spokane Valley, as well as precinct, legislative district, and road maps. Maps are available to aid researchers studying the mining industry, Native American history, and overland travel to the West.

Accessing the collection

Spokane Public Library’s Map Collection is a valuable resource for those studying Pacific Northwest history and geography. Items in the map collection may be viewed with the assistance and guidance of the Northwest Room staff. Most of the maps have been encapsulated in Mylar and backed with acid free paper to ensure their preservation and to promote ease of use. The maps are in the library’s catalog and a complete list is available in the Northwest Room. Some of the maps may be photocopied with the permission of the Northwest Room staff.