Sanborn Fire Insurance maps

The Sanborn Fire Insurance maps collection includes digital copies of two rare map volumes, showing Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1874 and 1878. Fire insurance maps are large-scale maps with detailed drawings of the built environment of urban areas. They were produced for insurance agents to use in quoting fire insurance policies. The maps are helpful for researching the history of a property and for general knowledge of the history of Grand Rapids. The only known copies of the 1874 D.A. Sanborn and 1878 Sanborn Map & Publishing Co. fire insurance maps of Grand Rapids are in the archives of the Grand Rapids Public Library.

These maps are available online thanks to support from the Friends of the Grand Rapids Public Library and the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.

The maps were digitized using the best scanning system in the world (French Lumiere technology), with the highest geometrical accuracy available anywhere, at the W.E. Upjohn Center for the Study of Geographical Change at Western Michigan University.

You can view additional Sanborn fire insurance maps of Grand Rapids and Michigan in the FIMo (Fire Insurance Maps Online) database, available at the library or from home if you are a GRPL cardholder. You may also view additional fire insurance maps and information from across the United States at the Library of Congress.

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