Featured Collection: Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Posted Apr 23, 2019Author: Joshua Sadvari

What’s in this collection?

Over 2,000 scanned historical maps dating from the late 19th to mid-20th century and covering much of Pennsylvania. Sanborn fire insurance maps contain a wealth of information about individual properties and were designed to assist insurance agents in determining fire hazard potential.

What BTAA Library submitted the collection?

Pennsylvania State University

Interesting tidbits:

  • I chose to explore and highlight this collection because I am originally from a little town in Pennsylvania called Windber, which was founded in 1897. There are Sanborn maps of Windber available in the collection from as early as 1899, likely some of the first comprehensive maps of this small but growing town.

A Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing downtown Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1891.

Where can I find out more?

Have questions about this collection, the BTAA geoportal, or maps and geospatial data in general? Please don’t hesitate to contact our project team!

Joshua Sadvari is the Geospatial Information Librarian at The Ohio State University Libraries.