University of Nevada, Reno
Nevada in Maps Nevada History in Maps
 
About the Collections

 

Sanborn Maps of Nevada

Introduction

Nevada's early western settlement history was one of tenuous existence. Settlements, hardly towns much less cities, came and went usually as mining sites were exploited and declined. Few maps exist to document the existence and changes to these towns. Sanborn® and similar town maps provide invaluable historic detail on 33 early towns of Nevada dating from 1877 to halfway through the 20th century.

This project is an effort to present online a full-color set of Nevada Sanborn® and other Nevada town maps. There is no full set in any format available at any location in the state. This digital collection dating from 1879 through 1923, as of the initial posting, totals 516 maps for 29 towns, some of which no longer exist.

Sanborn® Maps of Nevada towns

Sanborn® and other companies published detailed city maps to record information relative to fire insurance in cities and towns across the United States in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. The Sanborn® Company of New York quickly became the dominant publisher of town maps for insurance purposes. Towns were surveyed usually at 50 to 100 feet to the inch and drawn on sheets typically 24" x 26", but the size often varied. These maps present a description of a town at the time of the survey by depicting the streets in the core of a community. Buildings were drawn in footprint outline with number of floors, windows and other construction elements indicated. Buildings were color coded to indicate type of structural material: brick, stone, wood, etc. Often names and descriptive terms on structures [particularly commercial] indicate the nature of the activity or business and the owner. Water sources and local fire-fighting facilities were cited in brief description and drawn on the map where existed.