A bird's eye view of Solano Canyon from 1891
The bird's eye view map is a cartographic genre all its own. While they are, indeed, maps, bird's eye views can also be works of art. Their accuracy as maps may be questionable and their value thereby limited, but still ...
The second image, below, is but a very small small portion of a large, bird's eye view map of Los Angeles by the San Francisco publisher H. B. Elliott, published in 1891. The original map is huge — 31.9" x 45.3" — and the detail is incredible.
This is the original map:
Notice that the actual map portion of the whole — the bird's eye view — occupies only about 50% of the total map area. The border is a series of views of 24 buildings, one house, and the interiors of a grocery store and the Chamber of Commerce.
But it is that very small area of the map that is of interest here. If we zoom into Solano Canyon, we find some interesting detail. The question, of course, is whether what we are seeing is accurate.
The area is readily recognizable: notice the railroad yard with its roundhouse, and Buena Vista Road and Solano Avenue (annotated), the Santa Fe Railroad bridge across the Los Angeles River, and the Buena Vista bridge across the river, as well.
Now look at the annotations numbered 1 and 2. While it is, admittedly, merely speculation and with no assurance of accuracy, it is entirely possible that #1 is the home of María Agustina Solano and her husband, Guillermo Bouett at 1425 Buena Vista Road, and that #2 is the location of the original adobe that was built between 1866 and 1871 by founder Francisco Solano for his wife, Rosa Casanova, and their family.
María Agustina Solano, of course, is the daughter of Francisco Solano and Rosa Casanova, and for whom, Bouett Street in Solano Canyon is named. It is known with certainty from other maps, rigorously surveyed and drawn to scale (primarily by Francisco and Rosa's son, Alfredo Solano), that location #2 is the relative location of the adobe, and it is also known with certainty that María Solano and Guillermo Bouett built a house on Lot #100 of the original Solano Tract after 1888 and before 1900, which is located at the corner of (now) North Broadway and Casanova Street.
So are we seeing a view from history on this map? One doesn't know for sure, but it surely seems possible.
About the Author
Bouett is a retired research scientist and registered professional
engineer who now conducts historical and genealogical research
full-time. A ninth-generation Californian, his primary historical
research interests are Los Angeles in general and the Stone Quarry Hills
in particular. His
ancestors arrived in California with Portolá in 1769 and came to Los
Angeles from Mission San Gabriel with the founders on September 4, 1781.
Lawrence Bouett may be contacted directly here.