Sanborn maps

Discussion in 'General' started by Bradley A. Scott, May 25, 2017.

  1. I'm forwarding this to all the railroad history groups I'm in.

    I just found out via a library listserv that the Library of Congress is digitizing Sanborn fire insurance maps and making them available online. It's a project in progress, with coverage now limited to selected pre-1900 maps but scheduled to expand to cover all states and dates up through the early 1960s by 2020.

    Link to LC collection of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps:

    For those who are not familiar with Sanborn maps: they are extremely detailed maps of urban and industrial areas compiled for fire insurance purposes in the late 19th and early 20th century. They show individual buildings and industrial facilities in great detail and are a great source for researchers interested in those subjects. Railroad structures and tracks are typically included, although the maps do not necessarily record every spur or yard track.

    Electronic access to these maps has previously been available through paid institutional subscriptions which were typically available only through large university or state libraries. Pre-1923 Sanborn maps for some states are also available through digitization efforts run by state universities or libraries, and of course physical copies of locally-relevant maps are sometimes found in the collections of libraries and historical societies. (Such local paper copies can be particularly interesting if they document the pasted-in corrections that the Sanborn company periodically sent out to keep the maps up to date between major revisions.)

    Researchers interested in Missouri or Texas should note that Sanborn maps for Missouri are already available online through the University of Missouri website (open to all), and Texas Sanborn maps are available through the TexShare program (available to cardholders in Texas libraries).

    Other states may have similar state-level access to these maps, but this is exciting news for map-hounds who don't have an existing source for such maps in their areas of interest.

    Bradley A. Scott
    pathowe, yardmaster and RogerRT like this.
  2. RogerRT

    RogerRT Staff Member Staff Member Supporter

    Hope they do some of Arkansas, those are the hardest maps to find of all the states Frisco ran thru...Roger
  3. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Thanks Bradley, good stuff! ~mike c
  4. U-3-b

    U-3-b Member Supporter

    I can't wait to see them.

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