Sanborn Insurance Maps
The Sanborn Maps were originally created for assessing fire insurance liability in urbanized areas in the United States. The maps include detailed information regarding town and building information in approximately 12,000 U.S. towns and cities from 1867 to 2007. There are several online collections of these maps with over 6000 sheets are online in the following states: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, OH, PA, TX, VA, VT, WY and Canada, Mexico, Cuba sugar warehouses, and U.S. whiskey warehouses.
Each set of maps represented each built structure in those districts, its use, dimensions, height, building material, and other relevant features (fire alarms, water mains and hydrants, for example). The intervals between new map editions for a given town or city in the early decades of the twentieth century varied according to the pace and scale of urban growth — from a few years to more than five years. In all, Sanborn produced 50,000 editions comprising some 700,000 individual map pages.
These maps are useful to genealogists as well as researchers in many other disciplines. Here are links to several online collections:
- Library of Congress, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Collection
- UCLA, Sanborn Maps
- University of Kentucky Libraries, Sanborn Maps
- North Carolina Maps
You may wish to search for the term "sanborn maps" plus your location of interest.