Typically maps lead treasure hunters to the mother lode. But this time, the treasure trove is the map itself.
The Los Angeles Public Library inherited tens of thousands of maps, some more than 100 years old, from the estate of John Feathers.
Feathers’ tiny cottage in a remote area of Mt. Washington was stuffed with maps from around the world.
“I honest to God believe he tried to buy every single map ever published,” said Glen Creason, LA Central Libraries map archivist.
The treasure trove was discovered when Feathers’ 900-square-foot home was being prepped for demolition. Feathers died in February at age 56.
His lifetime collection will now go to Los Angeles, where Creaton and his team will pour over and categorize the maps, some of which are from Europe, the U.S. and even LA. Some are dated hundreds of years ago.
“I was absolutely stunned at what I saw,” Creason said. “This is, like, 500 times bigger than I ever thought was possible.”
“I think this gift will probably help generations, literally, generations of people.”