wrestled a book the size of a school desk from its shelf in the Denver Public Library
and plopped it in on a table with an audible "thunk" - no surprise for a volume weighing 35 pounds.
It was a vintage Sanford fire insurance map of Denver from 1903 to 1928, showing every structure in the city.
Even someone with only a scant interest in history would feel an odd time-tunnel effect eyeing the intersection of Market and 12th streets, where a massive horse stable and feed store stood beside a garage that housed newfangled contraptions called automobiles.
"I love showing this book to students," said Cox, the Denver Public Library's senior special collection librarian.
Wendel Cox, senior special collection librarian at the library's Western History/ genealogy department, flips through a map of south Denver from 1940. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)
"It just walked in one day," Cox
said of the acquisition.
"It's really compelling."
Streets that actually had automobiles,'" Cox
said with a grin.
sees a future where traditional printed maps exist alongside online versions.
"In some cases it makes sense to lay a map out physically in front of you," he
"You kind of fall into them.
But digitalizing them gives people an access they might not otherwise have."
Exploring a map room is its own voyage of discovery.
"It's the experience of opening a drawer, browsing through it and finding something you didn't even know you were looking for," Cox
is happy to share those eureka moments.
"We're fine with people handling most of these maps, as long as they haven't been eating a chocolate sundae," Cox