1956: DHS acquires Sanborn map of Wilmington

On March 21, 1956, the DHS accession book shows that the Society acquired a bound map of Wilmington, dated 1884, by Sanborn map Company . The entry indicates that the map shows types of buildings, brick, and frame. While the Society has hundreds of maps in its collection, few are as widely used as the Sanborn maps.

Beginning in the 1860s, the Sanborn Map Company produced maps of urban areas across the country for use by insurance companies in assessing the value of and potential risks to properties.  These extremely detailed maps provided information about the size and number of stories of buildings, the materials used, number and type of windows in the buildings, commercial owners, and lot size.  For researchers of all kinds these maps are extremely helpful when trying to create a visual image of a neighborhood.

Libraries and archives all over the country hold Sanborn maps within their collections. The Delaware Historical Society holds maps for the following towns and cities in our state: Bellefonte, Bridgeville, Camden, Claymont, Clayton, Delaware City, Delmar, Dover, Felton, Frederica, Georgetown, Greenwood, Harrington, Laurel, Leipsic, Middletown, Milford, Milsboro, Milton, New Castle, Newark, Newport, Seaford, Selbyville, Smyrna, and Wilmington. You can visit our website to see the dates of our holdings.


Detail of 1884 Sanborn map of Wilmington, Delaware
Detail of 1884 Sanborn map of Wilmington, Delaware


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