Re-Discovery of a 70-ton Relief Map of California

From SF Gate:

San Francisco’s oldest and best-known white elephant – the huge three-dimensional relief map of California that once graced the Ferry Building – has turned up at an undisclosed location on the city’s waterfront.

The map was one of the wonders of the West when it was unveiled in 1924.

It was as long as two football fields and showed California in all its splendor, from Oregon to Mexico, with snow-capped mountains, national parks, redwood forests, a glorious coastline, orchards and miniature cities basking in the sun. It was made of plaster, wire, paint, and bits of rock and sand. In the summer of 1924, Scientific American magazine said it was the largest map in the world.

It has not been seen in public for 50 years. For map fans, it is the saddest of sad stories: The map was damaged in the mid-1950s during a remodeling project at the Ferry Building and cut up into sections and put into storage in 1960.