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Indianapolis Sanborn Map and Baist Atlas Collection

This collection consists of large-scale color maps depicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of Indianapolis, Indiana. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps include the years 1887, 1898 (updated between 1900-1915), and 1914-1915 (updated between 1915-1950), while the Baist Real Estate Atlases include the years 1916, 1927, and 1941. The maps show individual building "footprints", complete with construction details, such as building material (brick, adobe, frame, etc.), height (of larger buildings), number of stories, location of doors, windows, chimneys and elevators, use of structure (dwelling, hotel, church, etc.), street address, and occasionally the ethnicity of the occupants.

The Sanborns were created by the Sanborn Company starting in 1867 specifically to assist insurance companies in determining fire risk and thereby premiums while the Baist Atlases were used for real estate zoning purposes.  Today these maps are used by scholars and researchers in such fields as history, urban geography, architectural history and preservation, ethnic studies, and urban archaeology.

In addition to keyword searching, extensive metadata enables you to search by landmark type, such as churches, or by specific landmark name, like Indianapolis Water Company. To do this click on "Advanced Search" and select the only the box for Indianapolis Sanborn Map and Baist Atlas Collection. At the top of the page, click on "Selected fields" and pick a field to search using the drop-down menu. Clicking on "show terms" will display a box with a list of terms to choose from.

For black and white version of additional years of the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps please visit the ProQuest database

The Library Fun, a fund of The Indianapolis Foundation

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"Sanborn", "Sanborn Map", "Sanborn Map Company", and "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps" are recognized trademarks of the Sanborn Map Company, a subsidiary of Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR). The presentation of historic Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps of Indianapolis on this site is in no way connected with either the Sanborn Map Company or Environmental Data Resources, Inc.

Updated Oct 09, 2020 by rwing