Historical Highway Maps of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Official State Highway Map (1953)
Wisconsin Official State Highway Map (1953). Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation has released scans of every edition of its official state highway map back to 1918.1 Available for download at that link. Also available for download: this 12-page guide discussing the evolution of the state’s highway map (PDF). It covers all sorts of paratextual things such as safety messaging, the governor’s welcome message, tourism and slogans in addition to the development of the map itself. Well worth a read.

The most recent map available at the moment is the 2019-2020 edition; a 2023 edition of the map is at the printer’s and will be released this summer.

Previously: Historical Highway Maps of Manitoba.

Keith Myrmel’s Hand-Drawn Trail Maps

Keith Myrmel

Keith Myrmel, a retired landscape architect from Minnesota, has produced two maps of the Boundary Waters region that are proving popular with hikers and canoers. The maps—one of the Superior Hiking Trail, the other of the North Country Trail and Arrowhead region—are large (26 by 40 inches) and intricately hand-drawn. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press covered Myrmel and his work last June:

“It’s fascinating how many people are map lovers,” Myrmel said. He has an extensive collection of Boundary Waters Wilderness maps dating back to the 1950s. “I said, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this old-school style. It’s all by hand.”

Using pencils, markers and watercolor paint, he put down information from books, maps, the internet and personal experience on a 2-by-13-foot map. The process took hundreds of hours, he said.

See also this 2018 story from the Star Tribune. The maps cost $34 or $35 and are available for sale from Myrmel’s website or from a number of local businesses.

Milwaukee’s Map Store Closing

The Map Store, a Milwaukee institution that has been in business since 1937, will be going out of business on April 1st. The Map Store’s owner cited “the combination of falling revenue and his age” (he’s 78) as reasons to close shop. [Cartophilia]

Always sad to see a map store close, but these are not unfamiliar reasons: the age and ill health of the proprietor felled Alaska’s Observatory Books; and Seattle’s Wide World Books and Maps fell victim to online shopping.