Friday, March 21, 2014

Re-Mapping Mormonism

I have been hard at work figuring out the various maps of the plats for the Mormon settlements following Kirtland, Ohio, e.g. Zion (I and II); Far West (I and II); etc.

I am doing the maps using the canvas tag and drawing in HTML5; being forced to identify an algorithm is very helpful in identifying the patterns.

For Zion I, I found this webpage from an urban planning professor to give the text of the plat explanation/revelation for Zion I; though apparently this is directly from the Church History.
(Apparently the plat that Joseph Smith Jr designed later received an award, if this missive is correct.)
I also found a nice article by Richard Jackson about the predecessors underpinning the plat and one about the legacy of the Zion Plat by Craig Galli at BYU Studies.

For Far West I, the scan of the sheep skin plat is available at BYU digital, though the pencil marks, and the distinction between ink and pencil marks on the plat, are not always easy to make out. It is also difficult to sort out how the lot distribution in lot #60 was supposed to play out.

BYU library has a Far West II scan, and they are in the process of digitizing that and bringing it up online. A shout-out to Rick Grapes, of BYU Map Collection, and Dr Mark Jackson, the research librarian for Geography, Geology, and Civil Engineering at BYU, for all their help.

I have been in contact with Michael Ellis, aka Zomorah, whose blog contains very nice maps he has drawn himself, of some of the early Mormon settlements in Missouri and Illinois. We are still haggling over some of the details, but that in itself is helpful---Michael also seems to have personal access to the museums in Salt Lake City, which I currently lack.

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