Product Idea |

Pictorial Map of The United States


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As with my Pictorial Map of Europe, this idea was inspired by maps of various parts of the world that I have seen printed on posters, in travel brochures, on placemats, and in children's books.  These colorfully illustrated pictorial maps were filled with cartoonish icons that would indicate details such as historical landmarks, economic/industrial sectors, items of cultural significance, and important natural features.  By presenting information in an easily consumed manner, these maps made learning about various regions fun and exciting.

I figured that if these maps were good in two dimensions, they would be even better in three dimensions, so I decided to create a pictorial 3D map of The United States.  The 2D icons have been replaced by mini 3D symbols, most of which fit on a 6x6 stud footprint or smaller.  As with most maps of The United States, Alaska and Hawaii are handled as insets.  The map necessarily includes portions of Canana and Mexico as well, so I included a number of Canadian features (Mexico is mostly covered by insets, so I didn't do anything special for Mexico).

I am certain that many will disagree with what I have chosen to represent.  Indeed, most of the cities and states represented on this map have dozen of features that would make worthwhile additions to this map.   One of the great things about this idea, though, is that it is inifinitely customizable.  Once the underlying map is complete, the builder can add whatever details her or she feels are most appropriate.  One could even imagine LEGO releasing follow-on polybag sets with individual icons, or perhaps even an Advent Calendar full of them.

So, without further ado, here is the list of what features are included on this map.  I plan to provide periodic updates with background information on each individual icon, and perhaps include some potential alternate icons as well.  You might recognize that several of these icons have been the subject of existing or proposed LEGO Architecture sets.

Northeastern USA:

  • West Quoddy Head Light (Lubec, Maine)
  • USS Constitution (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Statue of Liberty (New York, New York)
  • Iroquois Longhouse (Upstate New York)
  • Liberty Bell (Philadephia, Pennsylvania)
  • Steel I-beam (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • US Capitol (Washington, DC)

Southeastern USA:

  • Race Horse and Jockey (Kentucky)
  • Wright Flyer (Kitty Hawk, North Carolina)
  • Space Shuttle (Cape Canaveral, Florida)
  • Peanut (Georgia)
  • Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, Alabama)
  • Saxopone/Trumpet, to represent the birth of Jazz (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Paddlewheel Riverboat (Mississippi River)
  • Offshore Oil Rig (Gulf of Mexico/Louisiana)
  • Supertanker (Gulf of Mexico)

Midwest and Great Plains:

  • V-8 Engine (Detroit, Michigan and surrounding areas)
  • Old Water Tower (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Tractor (Illinois, Iowa, and surrounding areas)
  • Gateway Arch (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • Agricultural Windmill (Kansas)
  • Dairy Cow and Cheese (Wisconsin)
  • Ice Fishing Hut (Minnesota)
  • Chimney Rock, an Oregon Trail landmark (Morrill County, Nebraska)
  • Snowmobile (North Dakota)
  • Mt. Rushmore (Keystone, South Dakota)
  • Steer (Montana)

Southwestern USA:

  • The Alamo (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Oil Derrick (Texas)
  • Sooner Wagon (Oklahoma)
  • Old Mine Car (Colorado)
  • Southwestern Native American Jewelry (New Mexico)
  • Hoover Dan (Nevada/Arizona)
  • Saguaro Cactus (Sonoran Desert, Arizona)
  • Delicate Arch (Arches National Park, Utah)

Western USA:

  • Space Needle (Seattle, Washington)
  • Logging Skidder (Oregon & the Pacific Northwest)
  • General Sherman Tree (Sequoia National Park, California)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)
  • Film Camera (Los Angeles/Hollywood, California)
  • Trans-Alaskan Pipeline (Alaska)
  • Outrigger Canoe (Hawaii)
  • Palm Tree (Hawaii)


  • Centre Block on Parliament Hill (Ottawa, Ontario)
  • CN Tower (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Copper Cliff Mine (Sudbury, Ontario)
  • Canadair CL-415 (Canada)
  • Stanley Cup (Canada)
  • Inuksuk at English Bay -- (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Mountain Ranges:

  • Rocky Mountains
  • Mt. McKinley (Denali National Park, Alaska)
  • Mt. St. Helens (Skamania County, Washington)
  • Mt. Washington/White Mountains (Coos County, New Hampshire)
  • Haleakala (Hawaii)
  • Mauna Loa (Hawaii)
  • Mauna Kea (Hawaii)
  • Kilauea (Hawaii)

There were certainly more features that I wanted to include, but space and difficulties in building some of those features led me to abandon them.  Noticeably absent is the Appalachian Mountain Range (except for Mt. Washington), which fell victim to the density of features along the Eastern Seaboard.  That being said, I'll gladly take suggestions for additional features that could included.  Some of the other features that I considered, but rejected for one reason or another (usually lack of space) were:  a cruise ship off the coast of Florida, the Indianapolis Speedway, the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, the Acoma Pueblo, Disneyworld, the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, a coal mine, and a lobster boat off the coast of Alaska.

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