Exploring new places creates enriching experiences and adventurous memories. Yet, with technological advancements, our trips are becoming more programmed and less spontaneous. Google Maps or social media apps leave no room for wandering.

When was the last time you actually used a printed map to find a destination in a new place? What about using not just a regular map, but a map that tells a story of the place or its people. The whole experience would be more colorful.

This is what Hysterical Maps do. They inspire your travel ideas by allowing you to imagine what it would be like living like a local. So how did these maps become a source of inspiration for many an explorer? Join me in this post, and let’s dive together into the fantastic world of Hysterical Maps.

Where did Hysterical Maps come from?

Yes, it is not a typo and you have read it correctly: Hysterical Maps. What is so hysterical about them? Let’s start from the beginning.

Back in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, two Spokane brothers, Jolly and Ott Lindgren, wanted to bring back smiles on people’s faces by showing them that the world around them was not as gloomy as it might have seemed. Jolly, the artist, decided to draw an entertaining map of Spokane. Little did he know he was about to invent something very special.

The map came out very entertaining and lively, adding flavor to Spokane, filled with jokes, puns, and quotes. For example, one of the descriptions on the map would say: “Up this way lies Moran Prairie … but who cares.” Hence, you get the name now: not just historical, but “hysterical”. These maps were immediately commercialized and replicated for other places. They would sell well with calendars and other souvenirs. In fact, Hysterical Maps were among the pioneer souvenir items in the area.

Every map tells a story

Hysterical Maps are truly magical. For instance, each time I look at one of these pictorial maps, the Marauder’s map immediately comes to mind. All the Harry Potter fans out there should be familiar with this map of magic and mysteries. Similarly, Hysterical Maps have been awakening curiosity through the magic of their own from the very inception.

Through witty comments, fun facts, and colorful pictures, the map creators would infect us with the travel bug, inspiring us to start packing.

Indeed, Hysterical Maps show major attractions, the whole architectural layout, and even physical geography, in an original way. For example, imagine getting hold of the Hysterical map of Oregon. Studying the state on the quirky pictorial map will most likely inspire you to visit or even move to Oregon.

Now, let me paint another picture for you. Imagine comfortably sitting on your couch at home, exploring the map of California, and then another one of Yellowstone. And all of a sudden, you find yourself daydreaming about taking a road trip to visit these places in person. Hysterical Maps are speaking to you enticing you to see what these places are all about.

Which are 5 famous US hysterical maps?

Because of their popularity and originality, Hysterical Maps have been replicated for different places. In addition to the original Spokane map, other popular versions include:

  • Lake Tahoe Wild and Woolly Nevada: We dare you to spot the “legal gambling” or the “Hangover factories” on this one.
  • A Hysterical Map of Utah, which includes Zion Bryce, Canyon Cedar breaks, and stinking springs: Yes! All of it is the actual name of the map. And it all fits well on it along with the legend and the compass that says ‘This actually proves it’s a map!’.
  • A Hysterical Map of the Yellowstone Park with Apologies to the Park: This map apologizes to the park, but I actually think it does justice to it, as it is very well-made.
  • The Hysterical Map of the Mother Lode where California was born – This map offers some hope for all gold seekers out there.
  • A Hysterical Map of Yosemite National Park: This one does quite a good job of presenting nature very lively through original drawings.

What do you think of Hysterical Maps? On a scale from 1 to 10 how… hysterical do they seem to you? Itchy feet anyone?


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