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1873 Map Reproduction Sales Support Holly Historical Society

1873 Map Reproduction Sales Support Holly Historical Society

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 24, 2020)

Holly, MI –   An 1873 map of Holly has the town a buzz with memories and nostalgia as the Holly Historical Society is selling prints of the map to help fund their historic preservation efforts.

“The Holly Historical Society, like many non-profits, has been affected by COVID. We had to cancel our annual Holiday Craft Sale, which generates enough funding to cover our annual expenses,” said President Linda Smith.   “At a recent board meeting we brainstormed ideas to make up for the short fall. Member Nicole Rankin suggested the map sale.”

Rankin had first seen a print of the map a few years back at Winglemire Furniture.  She found it again more recently at the Holly Township Library.  She loved it so much that she had the map scanned so it could be reprinted and returned the map to the library in a frame so it could be hung in the library’s popular Michigan Room.  The effort was a birthday surprise for her husband Chris Rankin, and the back of the frame in the library bears an inscription to him.

“I had seen the map before at Winglemire furniture. In fact they had given me a black and white copy probably 2 years ago. I remember the day they gave me the copy. I was so excited to show Chris what our house used to look like.  What I love about the map is that it is the only “picture” I have of our house where it originally stood. My house was originally built on the property where the Barnum & Bailey house now stands. Our house was relocated in 1902, and is part of a much larger Holly History story,” Nicole said.

The map is done in shades of blue, with the area’s many lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds popping out among the white lines of the streets and the grays of the homes and businesses.  The old mill sits on Mill Pond at the edge of town, and the various rail lines are shown, complete with a passenger train and a freight train. 

The origin of the Holly map is unknown, although maps of this style – called “Birdseye view maps” – were popular between the 1840s and 1920s. A good portion of these maps were created by a small handful of people who were experts in the style. According to, “These maps captured the imagination of the American people as air flight did not exist yet, and city views had only been available from hilltop locations. Also popular during this period were views of American cities drawn as though viewed from extremely great heights.”

It goes on to say “These maps give a pictorial record of America’s cities during the post-Civil War period and for many localities provide the sole nineteenth-century map. No other graphic form of this era so effectively captured the vitality of America’s urban centers.”

The reprint of Holly’s map costs $20 and comes with an 1873 business directory and a one year membership to the Historical Society. The proceeds support the Hadley House Museum.  Maps can be purchased at Battle Alley Coffee, Winglemeier Furniture, or online.





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