Yuca’s

hand drawn map of los angeles california
Unknown, Yuca’s, c. 2009 [Los Angeles, California] original web archive: map 237

An anonymous contributor sent this map to Yuca’s in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles along with their recommendation to eat at the small taco stand for lunch. This was in 2009, mind you, and we pride ourselves in doing our research. We all know the American Apparel is no longer there, and just in case this map inspires you to lunch at Yuca’s, be aware it may have moved. Luckily, their website says its only a few blocks away on Hillhurst.

Browne’s Addition Food Map

hand drawn map of spokane washington
Amaris Ketcham, Browne’s Addition Food Map, 2009 [Spokane, Washington] original web archive: map 210

This detailed and accurate hand-drawn map indicates the location of fruit trees and bushes in the Browne’s Addition neighborhood of Spokane, Washington. Though it was drawn over 11 years ago, the map could likely be used today to find the very same fruit trees Amaris identified. Go ahead and try Spokanians…(Spokanites?).

A-Z Addendum

hand drawn map of london added to a spiral bound atlas
Unknown (drawn for Viviane Schwarz), A to Z Addendum, c. 2008 [London, United Kingdom] original web archive: map 48

Shortly after moving to London, Viviane purchased an A-Z Atlas, the most popular way to navigate the complex city prior to the smartphone. Even with the atlas, she kept getting lost. To help, her friend drew this map indicating, in general terms, the location of her flat, and where she could find food. The friend even took time to punch holes in the pages so they could be added to the spiral bound book. Viviane, like many A-Z owners, continued to add her own pages of notes and addendums until the atlas became quite bulky. She wrote, “Now I know my way around London, but I still use the ‘enhanced’ A-Z; I like to be reminded that the world can be confusing at times.”

Neighborhood Memories

Today’s maps from the archive will hopefully inspire you to draw a map of your neighborhood.


hand drawn map of Woodbridge Connecticut
Aura Seltzer, 2010, [Woodbridge, Connecticut] original HDMA web archive: map 291

Drawn entirely from memory, Aura depicted her hometown of Woodbridge, Connecticut as it existed during her childhood. The map includes travel time (in green) to reference the distances between places as well as details such as the best trick-or-treating and a stop sign that was repeatedly vandalized by teenagers.

Sabine Schmidt, 2011 [various locations] original HDMA web archive: map 302

Sabine’s map combines memories of her childhood growing up in Germany with glimpses of her current life in Arkansas. She uses the street layout of her German neighborhood to create a visual structure. She then fills the blocks with text derived from the free association of childhood memories and her contemporary daily routine.

Turn left under Michigan Ave.

hand drawn map of chicago illinois
Unknown, The Film and Tape Works, 2008 [Chicago, Illinois]

Drawn on the back of a fax cover page, this map provides directions from 237 East Ontario Street to two of the tallest buildings in Chicago: the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) and 311 South Wacker St. The HDMA received this anonymous submission in an envelope along with a pink Post-it stating “my boss, owner of the Film and Tape Works, makes these all time. It’s hilarious.”

Orange Associations

hand drawn map of amsterdam
Michelle Jenks, 2011 [Amsterdam, Netherlands]

Michelle managed to capture a lot of detail in her small map (3×5 inches). She accurately depicts the familiar layout of Amsterdam and includes some of her recommendations for things to see. She didn’t explain why she drew the map, but I think we should all spend an afternoon experiencing her Amsterdam the next time we’re there.

Charlie’s Place

Unknown, (drawn for Amanda Vincent), Charlie’s Place, 2011 [Gloucester, Massachusetts]

Amanda received this map from a hotel bartender in Gloucester, Massachusetts who recommended Charlie’s Place for breakfast. She writes, “the gist was to turn left at the hotel [INO] onto the coast road, bear left at the Y-intersection, turn left at a stop sign, and Charlie’s Place was on the left, across from the Stop and Shop. If you get to the White Hen, you’ve gone too far.” As of today, the restaurant is still there, so now you have the recommendation too.

See you tonight!

hand drawn map of paris
Amanda Vincent, Rue Tourlaque, 2011 [Paris, France]

Amanda drew this map for her family when they came to visit her while she was studying abroad in Paris. Since they were arriving while she was still in class, she mapped out her neighborhood and included some recommendations for things they could do until she came home that evening.

Neighborhood maps: Berlin

Unknown (drawn for Martin Voorhorst), Everything Is Not To Scale, 2008 [Berlin, Germany]

Martin’s friend drew this map for him when he was visiting Berlin. While there, he wanted to explore the Wedding neighborhood of the city via bike. I particularly like the use of office supplies. Highlighters provide the absolute best colors for map-making. Please buy some and use them in your cartography.

Neighborhood maps: San Anselmo

hand drawn map of san anselmo california
Unknown (drawn for Renee Sharp), Damaged Videos, 2008 [San Anselmo, California]

This is a map worth keeping. Even though it’s not particularly practical for navigation, it’s a cool piece of ephemera with a fun story. A video store clerk drew it for Renee and her boyfriend when they stopped to ask for directions to a popular sushi restaurant. The clerk quickly drew a few lines on the back of a slip of paper used to label videotapes damaged by customers. Even in 2008, this object was a relic of the past. The rendering was not only incredibly vague but also completely wrong. Despite the map, Renee and Bruce eventually found the sushi restaurant. They also kept the piece of paper using it as a bookmark before eventually sending it to the HDMA.

piece of paper for identifying damaged videos