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Using conventional cartographic techniques and orientation, the artist views Cambridge from the south southwest as if he hovers above Brighton looking north across the Charles River. His presentation includes all of Cambridge, encompassing its several neighborhoods and their varied functions.
The original village center focusing on Harvard Square and Harvard University is positioned just right of center, while Cambridgeport with its numerous commercial activities clustered around Central Square is placed left of center. Meanwhile, East Cambridge with its industrial activities is located in the upper right hand corner of the drawing.
An extensive directory lists 132 references. Thirty-two of these, representing the city hall, the county court house, and the churches, are numbered and located on the view. However, the remaining entries, recording an extensive number of commercial and industrial establishments, are not keyed to the view although their addresses are indicated. Interestingly, this view was not a comprehensive listing of industrial activity. The several brick yards prominently displayed on the left side of the view are not enumerated, nor is the city's largest employer, the New England Glass Company, which is distinctly depicted in the upper right hand corner north of the Boston and Lowell Railroad.
During its short existence in the 1870s, the Franklin View Company produced only two urban views this one and an 1873 view of Gloucester. Their style was noticeably different from the typical bird's eye view. They combined elements of a conventional map with the currently popular bird's eye view, in that the street pattern was replicated with little distortion, while the buildings were shown in three dimensions and the horizon displayed a high oblique perspective.