Map of Bermuda Islands compiled for The Bermuda-Atlantic S. S. Co.

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bermuda atlantic.jpg
bermuda atlantic.jpg
bermuda atlantic.jpg
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Map of Bermuda Islands compiled for The Bermuda-Atlantic S. S. Co.

1,500.00

Measurements: 18.5 x 24 in. (46.99 x 60.96 cm.) 

1902 (undated)

 

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DESCRIPTION

Originally produced to publicize the activities of the Bermuda-Atlantic Steamship Company, this exceedingly rare and previously unknown map of Bermuda, ca. 1902, depicts the entire island and several of its surrounding reefs. The map displays streets, roads, shipping channels, and selective undersea topography. On the upper left is an inset map illustrating Bermuda’s proximity to other Atlantic destinations. A depiction of the Bermuda-Atlantic Steamship Company's flagship vessel, the S.S. Oceana, is inset on the lower right.

The description of the S.S. Oceana accompanying its image revealed it to be the fastest, largest, most luxurious, and sole passenger steamship offering exclusively first-class passage to Bermuda. Every room contained electric fans, and many staterooms were outfitted with brass beds. Deluxe suites were available with private baths, and the inclusion of an orchestra, promenade dances on the “finest promenade deck in the world,” a gymnasium, and wireless service rounded out the amenities. Additionally noted was the fact that the S.S. Oceana was the only Bermuda-based steamship to have installed submarine safety signals. Bermudian map expert Jonathan Land Evans has pointed out in his reference book, Bermuda Maps, that the main map of the island delineates several of Bermuda’s earliest hotels, such as the “Hotel Hamilton,” the “Princess Hotel,” the “St. George Hotel” and the “Site of the New $1,000,000 Hotel” on Hamilton Harbour near Bostock Hill in Paget, which was never constructed. Evans also identifies several island attractions as appearing on the map, including “Spanish Rock,” the “Natural Arch” at Tucker’s Town, “Lion’s Head” rock, and the “Bathing Beach” at “Elbow or Middleton Bay.” 

Originally under the ownership of a German company that had used it to operate the Berlin-Alexandria route, the S.S. Oceana was purchased by the Bermuda-Atlantic Steamship Company to travel the New York-Bermuda route, beginning around 1902. The vessel's luxurious amenities attracted notable public figures from a diverse array of milieus, including a wheelchair-bound Mark Twain, who set sail on the S.S. Oceana a scant few months before his death.

Intense competition between the Bermuda-Atlantic Steamship Company and the Quebec Steamship Company culminated in an unrestrained price war for control of the New York-Bermuda route. By 1911, prices for this route had suffered a steep decline, dropping from 20 SUD to 10 USD for round-trip passage. Despite the significant price decrease making it possible for many more patrons to afford the passage — transforming Bermuda into a major tourist destination — the price-war also made profitability quite tenuous, and by 1910 serious financial difficulties had beset the Bermuda-Atlantic Steamship Company. Though the exact date that the Company suspended operations is unknown, by late 1911 the Company had ceased to service this route.

Thus far, no other representations of this scarce map have been found in any collection, public or private, nor is there any known publisher or acknowledged date of imprint.

Written by Brian Flon, author of "Hell's Kitchen Requiem" (2014), available as an e-book at Amazon, ITunes, and Barnes & Noble.

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