Fire Insurance Maps Provide Historical City Snapshots

Fire insurance maps are detailed city plans, usually at scales of 50 or 100 feet to an inch. They show individual building “footprints,” complete with construction details such as building material (brick, adobe, frame, etc.), height (of larger buildings), number of stories, location of doors, windows, chimneys and elevators, use of structure (dwelling, hotel, church, etc.), street address, and occasionally the ethnicity of the occupants. Other features shown include lot lines, street widths, water pipes, hydrants and cisterns, and fire-fighting facilities.

The Sanborn Map Company was founded in 1866 to create fire insurance maps of cities and towns.

The largest and most complete collection of historical Sanborn Maps is owned by The Sanborn Library, LLC. Copies of the Sanborn Map collection are offered through Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR). EDR is an environmental information company whose clients rely on Sanborn Maps for historical property information.
This collection includes over 1.2 million Sanborn maps chronicling the history of approximately 12,000 American cities and towns. If maps are available for your target property, you have the option of Sanborn Map delivery via email.

You can order Sanborn Maps from EDR at 1-800-352-0050.

For more information visit their website at