Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years.

ProQuest's Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970 provides digital access to more than 660,000 large-scale maps of more than 12,000 American towns and cities. Medina Library card holders have access to the maps for Ohio cities and towns only. You will not find great grandpa's farm in these maps!

ProQuest describes the collection:
"Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods. They are large-scale plans containing data that can be used to estimate the potential risk for urban structures. This 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."

Follow this path for access:→Your Library 24/7→Online Resources.

Scroll down and select tab marked “History & Genealogy” then select "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Ohio".

From home, you will be asked for your library card number and PIN.

Using “Caledonia” as my search term the database returns 7 entries covering the little village near my family’s farm. The village maps cover the years 1901, 1912 and 1924. Using these maps we found the house where my sister now lives and verified that it was over 100 years old.

Let's look for Medina maps!

Notice the Fatal error message. I am really glad that it wasn't FATAL!
Whatever problem triggered the error message didn't seem to effect the database.
It worked fine!

As you can see a search for Medina returns about 50 maps covering the years 1885, 1892, 1897, 1902, 1911, 1923, 1932 and 1932-1940.

Let's check the intersection of Washington and Broadway:

1885, Sheet 2

You can use the last link listed under SOURCES below to find out what the abbreviation Dwy means.
The answer will be in the comments section.

Notice the building the red arrow is pointing towards? With this map, it is obvious that this building was constructed before 1885.

1902, Sheet 5

Same intersection, same building

1911, Sheet 7
Now what is at that intersection?

From this information alone, we can prove that they Sylvester Library was built between 1902 and 1911.  (From other sources, we know that the building opened in 1907.)

Can you think of ways you could use this resource in your research?


No comments: