Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Replay - Who is Sanborn and Why do we have his Maps?

As far back as 1867 the Sanborn Map Company employees were busily dashing through municipalities large and small, scribbling out the street names, building use, construction details, property boundaries, house and block numbers, street and sidewalk widths and more!!!!  I checked my home town in 1909 and found out that the garage at 700 Lake Avenue had 75 gallons of 'gasolene' on hand. Whew! These people were bus-y. And it was all for the insurance companies. "The maps allowed underwriters to more accurately access the risks of a business, even if they were unable to inspect the property in person".* They are so cool. We bought the Iowa maps and you can go back in time to a small town and find out where the horse stables were. For example, in 1885 Algona Iowa had a Roller Skating Rink at 559 State Street. So everything was up to date in Algona. Candy for historians and genealogists.

*Source: A Brief History of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and the Sanborn Map Company

Digital Sanborn Maps of Iowa (use outside the library) You will need your Des Moines Public Library card and PIN to access this from outside our libraries.

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