The Sanborn Map Company created large-scale maps of more than 12,000 American cities and towns during the late nineteenth and twentieth century to provide fire insurance agents with sufficient information to assess fire insurance liability. Maps show size, shape and construction of buildings, street names and widths, property boundaries, building use, and the locations of water mains, fire alarms, and hydrants, among other things. The Sanborn Map Company updated the maps to reflect new construction and changes in existing buildings, thereby illustrating the urbanization of America. Collection contains Sanborn maps for towns and counties in West Virginia from 1884 to 1934, though most date from the early twentieth century. Typically there are several maps for each location. There are some microfilm copies available in collections W-1526 and W-3432. An inventory is available in the library. Addendum from 2013/06/17 contains one volume of Sanborn insurance maps for the town of Buckhannon, including base map of 1930, and amendments for 1947, 1956, and 1961. Addendum from 2013/12/04 contains two volumes of Sanborn insurance maps for Morgantown, WV; one is from 1927 with corrections to 1948, the other is from 1927 with corrections to 1954.
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
No special access restriction applies.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
Biographical / Historical
Daniel Alfred Sanborn (1827-1883), a surveyor from Somerville, Massachusetts, established the Sanborn Map and Publishing Company in New York in 1867 to provide fire insurance agents with standardized maps that allowed them to analyze property hazards. Sanborn mapmakers surveyed 12,000 cities and towns in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and, as urban areas changed and developed, updated their maps to reflect new construction and changes in existing buildings. Maps show size, shape and construction of buildings, street names and widths, property boundaries, building use, and the locations of water mains, fire alarms, and hydrants, among other things. In 1904 the company name changed to Sanborn Map Company, and in 1996, the collection was taken over by Environmental Data Resources, Inc.
2.25 Linear Feet (Summary: 2 ft. 3 in. (132 oversize folders, 1 ft. 10 in.); (1 large flat storage box, 1 1/2 in.); (2 unboxed volumes, 3 1/2 in. total); 14 reels of microfilm)