Interactive Historical Sanborn Fire Maps project
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These interactive maps combine a current aerial view with historical Sanborn fire insurance maps, allowing the user to compare what cities looked like in the past with how they look today. Historic photographs have also been pinned into the map at significant locations. Bob Cowling created the interactive maps and donated them to the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. The Sanborn Map and Publishing Company, founded by Daniel Alfred Sanborn in 1867, has created detailed fire insurance maps of more than 12,000 cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although the company still exists and publishes periodic revisions to their maps, they have not issued new catalogs since 1950. The initial purpose of the maps was to record information useful for fire insurance agents, such as property boundaries and owners, building uses, house numbers, construction materials, and the location of fire safety equipment, windows, and doors. Today, however, the maps are primarily used by municipal governments, engineers, architects, historians, and genealogists for their data on land use, urban development, ownership of buildings, and more.
The following cities and towns are included in this project: Marquette, 1917; Ishpeming, 1911; Negaunee, 1911; Republic, 1922; Michigamme, 1902; L'Anse, 1938.
Because of technical limitations, the maps are housed on a separate website. You can access them here: