Library Program Focuses on Reedsburg Bird’s Eye View
Reedsburg Public Library’s next local history program will boast a unique perspective, in fact, a ‘bird’s eye perspective' on the history of Reedsburg. On Sunday, January 14, at 1:00 p.m., Paul Wolter, Executive Director of the Sauk County Historical Society, will present a program on the notable nineteenth century “Bird’s Eye View” drawing of Reedsburg.
The drawing, published in 1874 by J. J. Stoner of Madison and printed by J. Knauber & Company of Milwaukee, is essentially a map of the city at the time, with the added details of individual buildings, trees, wagon traffic, and pedestrians. West side landmarks include the Baraboo River, Old Loganville Road, and the former Woolen Mill, while the eastern side of the city is bounded by an unpopulated Laurel Street. Eighth Street marks the northern boundary and “Plumb” Street delineates the southern perimeter. The railroad, which came to Reedsburg in 1872, is featured, as well as a number of businesses, churches, and the public school.
“Bird’s Eye View” or panoramic drawings became popular in the United States after the Civil War and represented an effort by visionary civic leaders to celebrate and promote their communities. Creators of the panoramic views began with an outline of village streets in perspective, and filled in the details by walking down each roadway and sketching individual buildings and trees. The goal was to present a landscape as seen from an elevation of 2,000 to 3,000 feet or from a “bird’s eye” perspective.
According to Wolter, the Reedsburg map is one of eight “bird’s eye” drawings completed for Sauk County communities. From 1870 to 1886 various panoramic views were made for Baraboo, Sauk City, Prairie du Sac, Reedsburg and Spring Green. Three of the communities had more than one drawing commissioned. On January 14, Wolter will discuss in detail the Reedsburg drawing and the history of the city it portrayed in 1874. Historic photos will be compared to the line drawings on the map to illustrate the accuracy of the artist’s “bird’s eye” view.
Reedsburg’s 1874 map created by Stoner can be viewed in the Local History Room of the Reedsburg Public Library. Learn more about the map and early Reedsburg on January 14, at 1:00 p.m. in the Library’s Community Room. There is no registration and no charge to attend. For more information about the “Bird’s Eye View” program, or any other library program or event, call the Library at 768-READ (7323).