Sanborn fire insurance maps are the most frequently consulted maps in both public and academic libraries. Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians, planners, environmentalists and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth, and development of American cities, towns, and neighborhoods.
Sanborn maps are large-scale lithograph street plans at a scale of 50 feet to one inch (1:600) on 21 inch by 25 inch sheets of paper. The maps were created in volumes, bound and then updated until the subsequent volume was produced.
Containing an enormous amount of information, they are organized as follows: a decorative title page, an index of streets and addresses, a ‘specials’ index with the names of churches, schools, businesses etc., and a master index indicating the entirety of the mapped area and the sheet numbers for each large-scale map (usually depicting four to six blocks) and general information such as population, economy and prevailing wind direction. The maps include outlines of each building and outbuilding, the location of windows and doors, street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, fire walls, natural features such as rivers, canals, railroad corridors, building use (sometimes even particular room uses), house and block number, as well as the composition of building materials including the framing, flooring, and roofing materials, the strength of the local fire department, indications of sprinkler systems, locations of fire hydrants, location of water and gas mains and even the names of most public buildings, churches and companies.
The Eureka Springs Carnegie Library gave permission to scan their collection and our gratitude is extended for such copies as duplicated here. In scanning the large sheets, it was necessary to scan only portions at a time on a flat-bed scanner so that the original map sheets would not be folded or mutilated. Therefore, it was necessary to copy eight portions from each sheet and then merge them together to show what is herein displayed.
The Library's collection of six years is not complete, missing the year 1897, The Eureka Springs Museum has the same set but in color and including the year 1897. The Color schemes give more clarity than the Blue Print copies of the Library. Attached is a sample of Black and White as available at the Library and the Color copies were photographed by Ken Bates who has rendered the attached copies. Needless to say, there is much greater clarity if you had access to the large size hard copies.