02/11/14 300 W, 7 I - + 1 - 2 Early Black Fire History via Sanborn Maps

Was digging through some digital Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps last night, which are available online for Wake County Library patrons (via this page) or statewide before 1927 (via this site). Was adding some annotations to my archived copy of the late Chuck Milligan's history of Early Black Firefighters of North Carolina. What the heck are Sanborn Maps? Read this posting of ours from 2011. What do Raleigh's maps look like, from this (and other) eras? Visit this gallery.

Tips for finding, viewing, and saving said maps? Use the above links and explore "download" options. Each map sheet is stored as a single PDF document (or single JPG image), which is infinitely easier to consume than within a browser-based viewer. Once you've download some maps, you can use your favorite screen capture tool to excerpt images, as shown below. What if you don't live (or work) in Wake County? Check your county library system, and see if they have licensed access to the digital maps.
How are those two sites different? The Digital Sanborn Maps site (via Wake County library) contains black and white, high-contrast versions of the maps, and including 1927 forward. Downloads of map sheets are PDF files. The second site, via the North Carolina Maps site, contains scans of the paper maps and only those before 1927, which are public domain. Downloads of map sheets are color JPG images.

Here are a few examples of what you might find, for the smaller towns and cities. (The maps of larger cities use a different logo and placement of water supply and fire protection information.) Give me another decade, and maybe I'll build a statewide gallery of these. Click once or twice to enlarge:



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