Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1897 Map of St. Petersburg

I've been checking out this 1897 map of St. Petersburg and each time I look, I see something new. How amazing this is! Even in French.

Cemeteries, located on the outer edges of the city, are recognizable even at a distance. But looking more closely through the zoom function, you can see crosses marking an area as a burial ground. Map makers in the U.S. Civil War used these same marks to depict a cemetery in their hand drawn maps.

Studying Civil War maps also makes me think I recognize two forts, or maybe the remains of a fort, along the Canal de Kronversky, because the angles appear to be bastions. Their location where three waterways meet would be an important strategic position and deserving of fortification.

I don't know if the grid layout of streets evident in several districts is typical of urban development at that time and I can't tell how old those streets are, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have the same configuration today. I'm interested to know how and when the small parks within these areas were established. Where they connected to a prominent property owner or a member of a ruling family or were they squares specifically opened as parks for the public to enjoy?

At the southern end of the city is a pretty big railroad yard with lines coming in from the south and the east. A slaughterhouse is located close to this yard, perhaps indicating that animals were transported here by train. In the northeast, near the forts, there's another much smaller rail yard with a line coming in from the north.

The presence of several rivers, canals and ports indicates that the city was was likely an important center of commerce, even before rail. While probably not equally balanced to industrial use, some space, like the zoo and hippodrome, must have been used for leisure purposes. This mix is still highly desirably in urban planning today.

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