In the summer of 2003 I received a call from my long time friend, Mike Hermann of Purple Lizard Maps. The call went to voicemail, and Mike left a seven digit phone number where I could reach him.
Having recently moved to Maine from California - where on a clear day I could see a half-dozen area codes from the deck at our house in the mountains - I wasn't yet accustom to living in a state that only had one area code. Coupled with the fact that the last time I saw Mike was at his home in Colorado eight years prior, I wondered how I would track him down. After mulling the problem briefly, I realied that he was probably calling from in-State, and eagerly dialed him back via the local exchange.
To my delight, I learned that we were only a few miles apart, and that I had reached Mike at his office at the University of Maine Canadian-American Center where he was working as the cartographer for a unique and ambitious project, the Historical Atlas of Maine. Later that day, and in subsequent years, I had the great pleasure to preview some of the hundreds of maps that Mike was preparing for the atlas.
In quintessential Hermann style, the drafts were approachable, informative, and beautiful. (For an example of his work, download a copy of the Maine Ice Age Trail Map, one of my favorites.) Little did I know at the time that I would need to wait more than ten years to see the final products.
Fortunately, the atlas is now in production, and the initial orders are scheduled to arrive in the coming days. This is one holiday gift that I plan to open early and enjoy reading by the fire throughout the month as I become better acquainted with the past several thousand years of history of my adopted home state.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to Mike, editors Stephen Hornsby and Richard Judd, and all of their colleagues who have worked so hard and for so long to bring the Historical Atlas of Maine to fruition. Well done!