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Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. Surveyors' Manual

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Kent McMillan
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For those who aren't aware of them, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company produced detailed maps of the built-up parts of many US cities. These maps are a valuable resource for surveyors in that they provide a fairly detailed snapshot of the nature of building improvements in place at early dates. Here's an example of a detail of one such map overlaid on modern aerial photography:

If you're interested in the Sanborn maps for Texas cites, the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection has very good scans of quite a few available for download:

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/sanborn/texas.html

Sanborn employed hundreds of surveyors in this large-scale mapping effort. Beginning in 1905, they published a detailed manual, "Surveyors' Manual for the Exclusive Use and Guidance of Employees". Does any reader either have a copy of this manual or, better yet, have a pdf of it that they would be willing to share?

 
Posted : February 10, 2016 7:06 am
Mike Berry
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The City of Bend has 1913-1950 Sandborn maps on line on their CDD research page. Unfortunately, they didn't scan these in color.

 
Posted : February 10, 2016 7:29 am
Moe Shetty
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hi kent. there appears to be one at kansas u library in their rare books collection

 
Posted : February 10, 2016 7:56 am

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makerofmaps
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Here's a link to the ones in Chattanooga http://nooga.com/168934/deep-zoom-chattanooga-the-citys-forgotten-streets/

 
Posted : February 10, 2016 8:44 am
Paul
 Paul
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Library of Congress listing: http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/sanborn/
WA State Secretary of State index: http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/sanborn/

Unfortunately, neither location had any online maps in my County, but I can get them if I need them.

Thanks for the tip - these may come in handy some day.

 
Posted : February 10, 2016 3:14 pm
Kent McMillan
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Moe Shetty, post: 357346, member: 138 wrote: hi kent. there appears to be one at kansas u library in their rare books collection

Yes, the KU Library copy is the 1936 edition. The original published in 1905 is what I'm really after.

 
Posted : February 10, 2016 3:35 pm

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Larry Best
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A few years ago I marked out a grid for an archeologist documenting pre-Columbian artifacts uncovered when Kronprindsens Gade (Main Street), Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas was being rebuilt. He supplied this Fire Insurance Map. Most of the buildings are the same and have the street numbers on them. The Bank of St. Thomas is abandonded but still has the beautiful cast iron façade and galleries. I don't know how old the map is.

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 3:42 am
Dan Patterson
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I love those old maps. I know they have them for much of NJ because they came in handy when I worked at an environmental firm trying to locate old manufacturing buildings and the like.

We would later survey and map the borings to show contamination plumes and also perform monitoring well certifications. I think that is the most differential leveling I've done out of any of the jobs I had.

Does anyone know if there's a link for those maps where you can search by location?

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 4:14 am
James Fleming
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Dan,

This site has a lot of old maps form the Northeast.
http://old-maps.com/index.htm
Our version of the Sanborn maps is the ""Baist's Real Estate Atlas" of Washington DC.

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 4:24 am

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FL/GA
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[USER=763]@Larry Best[/USER]

How in the world do you survey on streets in Charlotte Amalie?

If I recall correctly Kronprindsens Gade is basically “parallel” to Veterans Drive. If the traffic on Kronprindsens Gade is anything like on Veterans it must be extremely difficult, especially when the Port is full. I've been there a bunch of times and the traffic is horrendous! :woot:
B-)

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 5:26 am
Larry Best
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In this case, the block was closed for a month to excavate for utilities, then for the archaeology. Just a lot of pedestrians.

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 5:38 am
Ryan Versteeg
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After a bit of research I found they are available to most public libraries in CA via digital means. If you have a library card for a library that subscribes, then you can view them for free. Not sure about obtaining copies. You may need to purchase them to get copies.

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 10:47 am

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DBarberio
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Our library in the San Francisco Bay area had the maps on microfiche, and they could be copied from the machine by the page. The maps proved to be a valuable piece of evidence for the location of an historic creek that had been replaced with a culvert back in the early part of last century.

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 11:03 am
Jim in AZ
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James Fleming, post: 357463, member: 136 wrote: Dan,

This site has a lot of old maps form the Northeast.
http://old-maps.com/index.htm
Our version of the Sanborn maps is the ""Baist's Real Estate Atlas" of Washington DC.

I really like "EXPLANATIONS" instead of "LEGEND"...

 
Posted : February 11, 2016 11:22 am
MapsOnFire
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1905 is the 2nd edition. First was 1898.

 
Posted : June 9, 2016 8:02 pm

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