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Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: Step 4: Find your sheet

A quick how-to guide to get you started with the Sanborn Map Collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Step 4: Find your sheet

You have two options:

Microfilm

  • There are two sets of Sanborn Illinois fire insurance maps: MICROFILM G-1 and MICROFILM G-3. The reels are organized alphabetically.
    1. G-1: made from the Library of Congress collection of Sanborn maps with a date range of 1883 to 1951.*
      1. *G-1 has been digitized and made available electronically by following the Online steps below.
    2. G-3: made from the Sanborn Archives with a date range of 1894 to 1989.
  • Consult the Reel Guides to determine which reel(s) you will need.
    • In G-1, Chicago is on reels #8 through 32.
    • In G-3, Chicago is on reels #3 through 24.
  • In the drawer, locate the reel(s) of the Chicago volume(s) you are looking for.
  • For areas outside of Chicago, use the Sanborn reference binder to determine which reel(s) you will need.
  • If you are unfamiliar with microfilm readers, consult the Microfilm Guide located in the Microfilm section.

Online

  • The maps available online are the same as MICROFILM G-1. They were scanned from the microfilm of the Library of Congress collection of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.
    • The collection includes all original maps submitted to the Library of Congress from the Sanborn Company as well as maps transferred to the Library from the Census Bureau.
    • The Census Bureau Sanborn maps were transferred to the Library of Congress in the 1960s. What sets these maps apart from the rest of the Library’s collection was that many were kept up-to-date with paste-on correction slips through 1950. These volumes are marked with an asterisk (*) in the database.
  • Navigate to Sanborn Maps of Illinois, 1867-1970, in CARLI digital collections*
    *You must be affiliated with the university to access off-campus. Visit the Library to access the digital Sanborns on a public terminal.
  • Select City, County, or City of Chicago volume
  • Using the sidebar on the left, scroll to the sheet(s) you located in Step 3

Step 4: Example

James selects Chicago, 1905-1951; vol. 7, 1917. In the left sidebar, he finds Sheet 79. He follows Morgan north from Taylor. James finds 803 S. Morgan. James decides to check the next sheet north, sheet 63, which he had written down earlier and is marked on the border of sheet 79. James finds 737 S. Morgan. The location is somewhere in between - in the middle of Polk Street. James double checks Google Maps, and he is confident that the current address of 801 S. Morgan was built over the Polk Street of the past.

 

Select City, County, or City of Chicago volume

 

Using the sidebar on the left, scroll to the sheet(s) you located in Step 3