Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The Sanborn fire insurance maps are one of the great treasures of urban history - large-scale (1"=50'), block-by-block maps of American cities and towns, covering the century between 1867 and 1970.

What I didn't know is that they mapped some remarkably small communities, such as the one I grew up in:

Mom & Dad's property is in the upper left hand corner, with exactly the same buildings it had when we moved there in 1969. You can find older maps here, but they don't cover our part of town. Whether that means the maps don't exist, or just that they've not been digitized, I don't know.


Cranberry Necklace said...

Are you dealing with Sanborn maps in your position with the U of M map archives?

Scott Hanley said...

No, I'm not working with any. Actually, I'm not working in the UM map library, although I may do a volunteer project if I can free up some time between two halftime jobs. I'll be working at the Eastern Michigan map library starting tomorrow, but not with any Sanborn maps.