The Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas, houses and provides access to an extensive collection of Sanborn maps for 241 Kansas towns and cities covering a period from 1883 through the 1930s. With funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the maps from 1883 – 1922 are now digitally available to researchers everywhere through this website.
History of the Maps
The Sanborn Map Company, of Pelham, New York, began surveying the business districts of cities and towns across the United States in the late 1860s. Their intent was to provide insurance underwriters with detailed information about the locations of businesses, the structures they were located in, and any information needed to assess their liability for insurance purposes.
Surveyors noted the size, shape, and construction of homes, commercial buildings and factories, the location of windows and doors, the existence of sprinkler systems and fire walls, the types of roofs, the widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.