Digital maps share history of Georgia towns and cities

ATHENS, Ga. – Want to know what your block looked like at the turn of the century? Did your Victorian bungalow once have a porch or a barn out back? Was your favorite restaurant once a livery stable? Historical fire insurance maps for more than a hundred Georgia towns and cities are now accessible online via the Digital Library of Georgia.

The digital collection consists of 4,445 maps by the Sanborn Map Company® depicting commercial, industrial, and residential areas for 133 municipalities. Produced between 1884 and 1922 and originally designed for fire insurance assessment, the color-coded maps relate the location and use of buildings, as well as the materials employed in their construction. The maps indicate which city utilities–such as water and fire service–were available.

“Fire insurance maps document the changing face of towns and cities, providing highly detailed information for each neighborhood and block,” said William Gray Potter, the university librarian and associate provost. The Library of Congress web site refers to them as “probably the single most important record of urban growth and development in the United States during the past one hundred years.”

The Sanborn Maps database is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia as part of Georgia HomePLACE. The project is supported with federal funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The maps represented are from the University of Georgia Libraries Map Collection. The website is: http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/sanborn. The press may download publication-quality images from http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/AboutDLG/PressReleaseSanborn.html#mce_temp_url#.

“Sanborn”, “Sanborn Map”, “Sanborn Map Company”, and “Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps” are recognized trademarks of the Sanborn Map Company, a subsidiary of Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR). The presentation of the historic maps on this site is in no way connected with either the Sanborn Map Company or Environmental Data Resources, Inc.