May 27, 2022

U.S History: Stanford Libraries Scans Storied Judah Railroad Map, View Online

From Stanford University:

Stanford Libraries has scanned an 1861 map depicting a proposed route for the railroad that eventually connected California with the rest of the country, making the one-of-a-kind map available for online viewing by people around the world.

The Central Pacific Railroad Proposed Alignment Map, which is 66 feet long and 2.5 feet wide, comprises four maps on one continuous roll. Each map is titled: Barmore Station to Clipper GapRattlesnake Bluffs to the summit of the Sierra Nevada; from the summit to the Truckee River; and Dutch Flat to Rattlesnake Bluffs.

The map is often referred to simply as “The Judah Map” after its maker, Theodore Judah (1826-1863), a brilliant civil engineer who dreamed of building a transcontinental railroad. Judah was chief engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad, which was owned by university founder Leland Stanford and his partners Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker.

Each of the four maps includes a table of alignments and Judah’s proposed route for the Central Pacific Railroad – the western end of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

It took one day to photograph the map and about a month to “stitch” the pieces together, said G. Salim Mohammed, head and curator of the David Rumsey Map Center, which oversaw the borrowing, display and scanning process, along with colleagues in Digital Library Systems and Services and the Preservation Department.

The center, which borrowed the map from the California State Archives, put the actual ink-on-linen map on display recently for a “pop-up exhibit” that drew more than 100 visitors. The display was one of many events on campus marking the 150th anniversary on May 10 of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Direct to Central Pacific Railroad Proposed Alignment Map

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.