An incredible source of information in any local history collection is annotated maps. A dated map showing the locations of businesses, ranches, ditches, or other details subject to change with ownership can document community development. Sketch maps fall into this category as they often provide details never found on commercially prepared maps.
This map of Gypsum, Colorado, was drawn by Art Davenport in the 1990s. Mr. Davenport used pencil on the back of a light cardboard sheet (paper tablet cover) to show the buildings in Gypsum in the 1930s. He includes several notes relating to U.S. Highway 40 South, aka Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway, and its original route through the town. The relative locations documented by this map are frequently useful when identifying buildings in our historic photographs. The Gypsum map requires special handling as pencil smears easily. It has been scanned for use and housed in a box to protect it from surface wear.
Another great sketch map is that of Brush Creek in the 1930s, drawn by Deb Dice Stewart for inclusion in the most recent edition of A Cup of Clear Cold Water, by Helen Dice. Done in ink, this map shows ranch owners along Brush Creek with their brands, if known. It includes enough geographic information (creeks, gulches, and mountains) to enable the reader to find these places despite the changes that have occurred over the past eighty years. While map storage takes space and sometimes special handling, preserving maps which offer information not available elsewhere is well worth the cost and effort.