Penn Libraries has maps in many formats and may be accessed through a number of different channels. All print map collections can be searched for in Franklin as can most of our online content.
Founded in 1867 by D. A. Sanborn, the Sanborn Map Company was the primary American publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. Sanborn maps were created to assist fire insurance companies as they assessed the risk associated with insuring a particular property. They include information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.
Digital Sanborn Maps - Pennsylvania Same Philadelphia Sanborn Maps as Geo Edition, but lacking Google Maps interface. Includes Pennsylvania town outside of Philadelphia. Images downloadable as PDFs.
How do I read a Sanborn Map? Consult the legend for each map. It can usually be found on the first or second page and varies year to year. Some example legends can be found here: