Vote for the Sanborn Maps You Want to See Online Next

UPDATE: The people have spoken! We will digitize Sanborn maps from Winston-Salem next. It’s a great set — we’ll include maps from 1885, 1890, 1895, 1900, 1907, 1912, and 1917. The 1917 set is especially rich, covering the whole city and surrounding industrial areas on 112 sheets. Look for these to start appearing soon, with Durham and Hillsborough to come a little later. The full tally of votes is below.

The North Carolina Maps project is continuing to grow, with a big focus of the current year being the digitization of all of the pre-1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps in the North Carolina Collection. These are fantastic resources, showing towns and cities from around the state in incredible detail. Designed to be used by insurance agencies and local fire departments, the maps show the footprint, size, and purpose of most buildings in the city. The downtown areas are especially interesting as they show what kinds of businesses were located in each building. This example shows a block along South Front Street in Wilmington in 1904:

We’ve finished the sets of maps for Kinston, Wilmington, and Charlotte, and we’re working on Greensboro right now. Keep up with our progress on the Sanborn Map page on our website.

In an effort to democratize the digitization process, I’d like to have your help in choosing what city to work on next. All of the cities and towns for which pre-1923 maps are available will be done eventually, but if you can’t wait to see these fascinating maps for your hometown, cast your vote in the comments section below. For a full list of the cities and towns that are available, see the list of Sanborn maps on the NCC website.

Once we’re done with Greensboro (It’ll probably be about a week and half), I’ll count the votes and the city that has the most will be the one we work on next.

155 thoughts on “Vote for the Sanborn Maps You Want to See Online Next”

  1. It would be particularly helpful to have high quality versions of the 1913 Durham maps available (the first year that includes West and East Durham.)

    Thanks for your efforts!

  2. Waynesville — especially 1931 with Lake Junaluska, Hazelwood, and Clyde.
    Canton — would be very interesting to see evolution of Champion Paper and surrounding community.

  3. Many of our original businesses are evolving into other business names.
    ( Reynolds, Hanes, Wachovia, etc…)

  4. Winston, Salem, NC
    I have got versions of some old maps and they help a lot in Historical searchs. I am glad to know of the project and noyify others around the state. Jack Ogburn

  5. I vote for the mill towns of Gaston County. Invaluable for folks doing research on mill villages and textile mills. The county had, for many years, the largest number of mills in the state.

  6. any published maps would become helpfull to to the public that has a intrest in this , my home state . rich in history , winston -salem gets my vote

  7. Thank you so much, folks, for your votes. But no election is over until the last vote is counted, so please urge your family, friends, etc to come and vote as well.

    If we win, I promise to put a little slide show on our website that will demonstrate one of the many values of the Sanborn Insurance Maps.

    If you go to the NC Miscellany home page and look a few entries before the Sanborn map one, you’ll see a cool blue button with 50-15 printed on it. It’s from a popular slogan in Winston-Salem in the early 20th century, and it exemplifies the same kind of local spirit that you have exhibited in the last 24 hours.

    Fam Brownlee, Jr.
    NC Room
    Central Library

  8. The voting is done, and the winner by a landslide is Winston-Salem. Here’s the full tally:

    Winston-Salem: 94
    Durham: 15
    Hillsborough: 14
    Rutherfordton: 2
    Mooresville: 2
    Kannapolis: 2
    Waynesville: 2
    Wilkes County: 2
    Kernersville: 2
    Asheville: 1
    Love Valley: 1
    Concord: 1
    Oxford: 1
    Raleigh: 1
    Warrenton: 1
    Canton: 1
    Elizabeth City: 1
    Surry County: 1
    Gaston County: 1
    Apex: 1

    Thanks to everyone who participated. Keeping checking the Sanborn Map page on the North Carolina Maps site — we’ll have lots more coming soon.

  9. The dual-city history of Winston-Salem and it having been the largest city between DC and Atlanta in its early days are strong reasons for it to be next.

  10. Thank you Nicholas, and thank you all who voted, no matter what city you voted for.

    We had a lot of fun, and I have been hearing from people who, because of this vote, to their delight, discovered NC Miscellany, the NC map site and much more.

    Again, thanks to all, the NC Miscellany staff and all voters.

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