Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Digital Sanborn Fire-Insurance Maps Are Available @ The State Library of Iowa

The State Library of Iowa has added another online database for its customers: the Digital Sanborn Maps. Sanborn fire-insurance maps are a very useful tool for local historians, demographers, city planners, genealogists, and anyone studying the history of an urban area. These fire-insurance maps were developed by the Sanborn Company in the latter part of the 19th Century for the purpose of showing fire hazards for each building in a town. The digital maps cover more than 360 Iowa towns from the 1870's through the1950's. Some types of information that can be found on these maps include: building construction details (building materials, number of stories, elevators and stairs, date of construction); building use details (building name, commercial or residential, type of business located on the premises); location details(current address, past addresses, alleyways and prominent natural features); and, land use details (parks, railroad tracks, underground pipes, street widths, land elevations).

Search the maps at,

or go to the State Library's Web site at ,

click on "Log in to Online Resources" in the left side bar, and select "Sanborn Maps".

Use your State Library card number for access. If you don't have a State Register for a State Library card at Anyone who lives in the State of Iowa is eligible.

For more information contact Barbara Corson at the State Library of Iowa, 800-248-4483,

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