Humanities › Geography Sanborn® Fire Insurance Maps Online Share Flipboard Email Print Geography Maps Basics Physical Geography Political Geography Population Country Information Key Figures & Milestones Urban Geography By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated April 14, 2019 From 1867 to 1977, the Sanborn® Map Company of Pelham, New York, produced large-scale (usually 50 feet to the inch) color maps of over 13,000 towns and cities across the United States in order to assist fire insurance companies in setting rates and terms. The color-coded Sanborn maps depict the location, dimension, height, and use of buildings, as well as the materials employed in their construction, and other relevant features. The Library of Congress web site refers to these color-coded maps as "probably the single most important record of urban growth and development in the United States during the past one hundred years." The following online collections offer free access to digitized copies of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for select states, cities, and towns. Most date from the 1880s through 1921 or 1922, as more recent maps are still protected by copyright. Maps from 1923 through the 1960s are also available for many localities, but due to copyright restrictions you need to visit or contact the Library of Congress or other repositories holding Sanborn Maps for access. 01 of 17 Library of Congress: Sanborn Checklist 1915 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Oakdale, PA This searchable database provides information on the Sanborn fire insurance maps housed in the collections of the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division in Washington, DC, as well as links to online images that have been scanned from the collection. Only a portion of the collection is digitized, but over 6000 sheets are online in the following states: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CT, DC, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, OH, PA, TX, VA, VT, WY, as well as Canada, Mexico, Cuba sugar warehouses, and U.S. whiskey warehouses. 02 of 17 Colorado: The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection University of Colorado Boulder , from the University of Colorado at Boulder, is a digital collection of Sanborn fire insurance maps of cities across Colorado. The free, online collection contains 346 maps of 79 major cities in 52 counties covering the years 1883–1922. 03 of 17 Sanborn Company Fire Insurance Maps of Florida University of Florida Map and Imagery Library This collection of over 3,000 public domain map sheets was digitized from the printed Sanborn fire insurance maps held in the collections of the Smathers Libraries' Map & Imagery Library at the University of Florida in Gainsville. 04 of 17 Georgia Towns & Cities, 1884–1922 Digital Library of Georgia Search or browse this digital collection of 4,445 maps by the Sanborn Map Company depicting commercial, industrial, and residential areas for 133 Georgia municipalities. This Georgia Towns & Cities Sanborn Maps database is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia. 05 of 17 Sanborn Maps of Nevada Mary B. Ansari Map Library, University of Nevada, Reno Explore digitized Sanborn fire insurance maps of twenty-nine early towns of Nevada, some of which no longer exist. Over 500 full-color, digitized maps date from 1879 through 1923. 06 of 17 Indiana Sanborn Historic Maps 1883-1966 Digital color versions of the Indiana Sanborn fire insurance maps have been made freely available online through the Indiana Spatial Data Portal (ISDP) as a joint project between Indiana University and the Historical Information Gatherers, Inc. All maps between 1883 and 1923 are public domain documents and are freely available. Digital copies of maps created after 1923 have copyright restrictions, but can be requested for academic purposes. This collection include 10,020 public domain maps and 1,497 copyright restricted maps representing 305 different Indiana locations. 07 of 17 Pennsylvania Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Penn State’s University Libraries has cataloged and digitized their entire collection of Sanborn maps, representing 585 cities and communities across the Commonwealth. All out-of-copyright maps published before 1923 are currently available online to the public. As copyright restrictions are lifted for post-1922 maps, those scanned images will also be added to the Library’s Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps website. 08 of 17 South Carolina Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps The South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina holds over 4,600 sheets of Sanborn fire insurance maps, covering 97 South Carolina towns and cities from 1884 to the 1960s. In addition, a now defunct South Carolina insurance firm donated their unpublished collection of maps documenting 229 small South Carolina towns, some which no longer exist, between the 1920s and the 1940s. A good portion of both of these collections has been digitized and published in this free online collection. 09 of 17 North Carolina Sanborn Maps The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill holds the most comprehensive collection of Sanborn® maps in North Carolina, dating from the 1880s to the 1950s and covering more than 150 cities and towns across the state. This online collection features digitized versions of all of the North Carolina Collection's Sanborn® maps produced through 1922. 10 of 17 Kentucky Sanborn Maps The Kentucky Sanborn® Maps Collection provides free online access to 4,500+ map sheets representing over 100 Kentucky cities and towns between 1886 and 1912. Select the "Maps" link to access this free database from the Kentucky Digital Library. 11 of 17 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Missouri Collection This online collection from Special Collections and Rare Books at the University of Missouri Library, includes 1,283 Sanborn fire insurance maps from 390 Missouri cities dating between 1883 and 1951. All of the Sanborn maps published before 1923 are available online. 12 of 17 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps — Texas, 1877–1922 Among the many wonderful online map collections of the Perry Castaneda Library at the University of Texas, is this digitized collection of Sanborn fire insurance maps for cities and towns across the state of Texas. Most date between 1885 and 1922. 13 of 17 Utah Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps The J. Willard Marriott Library of the University of Utah hosts online images from 40 communities in Utah, with dates ranging from 1884 to 1950. 14 of 17 California: Pre-Earthquake San Francisco 1905 Sanborn Insurance Atlas The online David Rumsey map collection includes a rare 6 volume San Francisco Sanborn Insurance Atlas showing the city as it was just months before the great earthquake. The atlas was first published in 1899/1900 by the Sanborn–Perris Map Company of New York, and updated manually through the fall of 1905. Check out the cool index and map placement tool for this atlas at Maptcha.org. 15 of 17 Digitized Kansas Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1883–1922 The University of Kansas Library System holds an extensive collection of Sanborn maps for 241 Kansas towns and cities covering a period from 1883 through the 1930s. Sanborn maps from 1883–1922 are digitized and available through their website. 16 of 17 Insurance Maps of New York Explore digitized copies of over 5,000 insurance maps for New York City, most from the Sanborn-Perris Map Co. Don't miss the parent collection "Atlases of New York City" for additional large-scale maps of the city. 17 of 17 New Hampshire Sanborn Map Collection View online or access high-quality digital downloads of Sanborn insurance maps from the state of New Hampshire. Courtesy of the Dartmouth Digital Library Collections. While most of the Sanborn maps have keys, the University of Virginia Libraries compiled a very useful guide to interpreting the symbols and colors used on the maps.