March 24, 2011
Sanborn Maps in the Classroom
Well, before you know it, I'll be reaching the Zoning segment of Property this semester. Jon's wonderful visual in his Glass House disaster post put me in mind of the digitized Sanborn maps I used to teach environmental due diligence back when our Community Development Clinic was offered as a two-semester course. It turns out that the building which houses UB's clinical program was the turn-of-the-century site of one of Baltimore's (and the planet's) earliest automotive engine plants.
As maps collecting fire insurance information for the 100 years following the Civil War, they were also a great way to show the expansion of the industrial city and the jumble of uses prior to Euclidean zoning. I got the Baltimore maps I used from the local library collection, but the Library of Congress has "4000 sheets . . .online in the following states: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CT, DC, GA, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NV, OH, PA, TX, VA, VT, WY and Canada and Mexico." (NYC is here.) The site also features a nice introductory essay. Enjoy.
Nashville-1914, Library of Congress (The Ryman Auditorium next door to the synagogue in lower left)
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