Metsker Maps

Historic Map Works is pleased to announce the acquisition of Metsker Maps, the long running map publishing business from Tacoma, Washington. This company was founded by Charles Metsker at the beginning of the twentieth century. After four generations of map creation by the Metsker family, the publishing arm was closed down in 1997.

During their almost century long run, the Metsker family produced approximately 300 county atlases and 400 county wall maps. Scanning the newly acquired maps will add approximately 10,000 images to the 1.2 million map related images already available on - all of which are available as both digital and printed reproductions.

It should be pointed out that when Metsker Maps stopped producing maps, the company was split into two separate entities: the publishing arm and their retail stores. The company and copyrights now under Historic Map Work's control was derived from the publishing arm which should not be confused with the separate retail entity which is called Metsker Maps of Seattle and continues to flourish as an affiliate of the equally storied Kroll Map Company in Seattle, Washington. You can find information about this company and the travel books, globes and other products they sell on their website:

Along with the ownership of the copyrights, Historic Map Works was able to secure the original pre-production tracing and mylars used to create the printed books which will allow users an insight as to how these historic documents were created.

Adding the Metsker Maps brand to the world's largest collection of historic maps was a natural fit for Historic Map Works and will be of special interest to visitors to the site who are interested in doing genealogical and land use research for the states in the Pacific Northwest including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California.

Researchers who are already familiar with the value of looking at a Metsker Maps created map will know the value of the information they contain. Unlike many publishers of the time who limited themselves to publishing maps of more developed areas, the Metsker family excelled at recording the history of the then rural and wilderness geographies. Many of our users already use Metsker Maps to study the boundary changes to state and national parks as well as helping land use enthusiast to locate former logging trails, timber camps, gold mines, and other areas of industry which flourished and then quietly faded away during the Northwest's various booms and busts. In many instances, the only way to locate these now ghost towns and overgrown roads is to look on a map published by Metsker Maps.

The scanning process has begun for this new addition to our collection and will be completed by the beginning of April. Once scanned, the maps will be made viewable online. In the meantime, we have uploaded two sample map groups - one historic Metsker Maps county atlas and one single sheet county wall map.

You can view the atlas here:
King County 1936 atlas from Washington State

and the single sheet county map here:

Snohomish County c1980 to c1996 county map from Washington State

Within the next few months, the newly acquired maps will be available for viewing in all three of our platforms: the original zoomable viewer and the Historic EarthTM map overlay viewer on and the portable Historic EarthTM iPhone App. Within Historic EarthTM, users can select any geographic point on a modern map and instantly see the history of that place via overlaid historic maps and the various layers of time each represent.