ProQuest is making available access to the Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970, for a free trial period available from Jan. 30 – Mar. 6, 2011.
The Sanborn Maps consist of more than 660,000 large-scale maps of more than 12,000 American towns and cities. Users have the ability to easily manipulate the maps, magnify and zoom in on specific sections.
Sanborn fire insurance maps are valuable historical tools due to their large-scale plans containing data that includes information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. Seven or eight different editions represent some areas.
Textual information on construction details (for example, steel beams or reinforced walls) is often given on the plans while shading indicates different building materials. Extensive information on building use is given, ranging from symbols for generic terms such as stable, garage, and warehouse to names of owners of factories and details on what was manufactured in them. In the case of large factories or commercial buildings, even individual rooms and the uses to which they were put are recorded on the maps. Other features shown include pipelines, railroads, wells, dumps, and heavy machinery.
Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.
Digital Sanborn Maps was created from ProQuest’s microfilm collection of 660,000 Sanborn Maps, which were filmed from the Library of Congress’ collection.
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