The 1865 Sanitary & Topological Map of the City and Island of New York was charted and drawn in intricate detail by Egbert Ludovicus Viele, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Central Park project.
Viele's study and determination of the precise topography and drainage of Central Park led to his mapping of the entire island of Manhattan. This map comprehensively depicts the watercourses, meadows, ponds, marshes, streams, canals and shorelines that would affect and be affected by development throughout the City. Viele's study of the earliest maps in the City's archives allowed him to recreate and include natural features already buried by mid-nineteenth century development.
Although Viele showed natural water and drainage patterns with the intent of preserving them, this map has continued to be used for more than a century by contractors looking to develop "open land" in New York.
About Egbert Ludovicus Viele
Egbert Ludovicus Viele was appointed by the City of New York in 1856 to be the engineer-in-chief of the Central Park project. He had been a U.S. Army cavalry officer in Texas after the Mexican War and later represented New York in the U.S. House of Representatives.