Map Maker of the Pacific Northwest

map of alaska with red portion marked off

The Kroll Map Company, Inc., has been a fixture of the downtown business community in Seattle for over a century. Three generations of the Loacker family have continued the work started by founder Carl Kroll, an Austrian immigrant who first arrived in Seattle in 1903. Kroll worked as a cartographer for the Anderson Map Company, until he started his own map company in 1911.

an inlet of water with mountains ensconcing the bay

Aerial view of Valdez, Alaska


Since that time, Kroll has produced hundreds of maps ranging from survey plat record maps of Washington counties, to “bird’s eye” aerial views, maps showing Seattle’s changing infrastructure over time, and other customized maps showing the changing topography of Washington and Alaska. Map making itself (cartography) has changed over time, from using glass photographic negative plates and hand-colored boundaries found in Seattle atlases, to the use of scanners and other new digital technologies to both archive older maps and create new ones for clients. However, it has continued to remain a time-consuming process, which attention to the smallest detail critical for success. John Loacker, third generation of owner of the Kroll Map Company in Seattle, has compared the legacy his grandfather started as one that is shared today with Filson: “We appreciate the association with another old Seattle company that has survived.”

a thin river snaking its way through lush pine forest
pools of aquamarine water amongst glacier ice

Anderson Map Company, Alaska Map (1900)

a map of alaska and the bering strait

Produced around 1900, this map was viewed by a million pairs of eyes, its rivers and valleys traced by a million fingertips. The Anderson Map Company produced scores of maps like this one for travelers bound for Alaska and other points in the far north, seeking their fortune during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kroll Map Company, Alaska (1936)

map of alaska with a teritory marked off in red

The 1936 hand-colorized map here shows Alaska in fine detail, including the heavy red lines visible which separated the four judicial divisions of Alaska Territory at this time. Red shading also highlights the US border with Canada. It would be another 23 years before the North Star State would join as the 49th state of the union.