Maps in the News: 12/2012

Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Maps in the News | 2 comments

John Feathers lived in Mount Washington and collected old and new maps. Feathers died last February and left about 30,000 maps, which will be donated to the Los Angeles Public Library.

Near my growing-up-house in Orange County, which the rest of the country (not the residents) believe is a part of Los Angeles County, Realtor Matthew Greenberg found tens of thousands of maps stashed in a 948-square-foot Mount Washington cottage. He was told to throw away whatever he found in order to sell the place. Thank goodness he didn’t.

John Feathers lived in the  cottage and obsessively collected old and new maps. Feathers died last February and the property needed to be sold. Greenberg, the realtor, walked in a saw this stash of cartographic wonder and reported it to the estate holders, who decided the collection will be donated to the Los Angeles Public Library. This leaves the library, which I grew up going to, with one of the five largest map archives in the country.

This guy, Feathers, stashed maps in every single crevice available, including those that were hidden, like the back of his stereo cabinet.

Some of the maps from the Mount Washington home of John Feathers were found in the back of an old stereo.

The Los Angeles Librarian Glen Creason, called to the scene by the realtor, said. “I think there are at least a million maps here,” he said. “This dwarfs our collection — and we’ve been collecting for 100 years.”

Realtor Matthew Greenberg found tens of thousands of maps stashed everywhere in the 948-square-foot Mount Washington cottage.

Part of what interests me about maps are the other people interested in maps. For some reason, this subject tends to attract some flukes of nature, like this guy who secreted away his maps like a squirrel. There is no evidence that he stole any of them, but he not only felt the need to own them, but a need to hide them.

I am starting this new category of “Maps in the News” because I love these stories. If you have any links for me, do not hesitate to offer them. I will post these on Wednesdays.

Another category I am adding is “Odd and Interesting Maps”. I will post these on Fridays.

Happy Holidays! Looking forward to a wildly cartographic new year.

2 Comments

  1. I love this story. I too collected maps. I was JUST able to throw some out. I use to get them in my National Geo mag and saved them. My husband had maps when we got together. Some I tore up and cover and old old suitcase with them and added old airplane tickets from my sons travels. So, maps? LOVE..

  2. John Feathers was an army brat. When his father would drive across the country, John would go into every gas station that his father stopped at and would get maps. This began the collection.

    In his later years, as told to me by one of the estate holders, he would go to garage sales and swap meets in search of maps.

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