University of Nevada, Reno
Nevada in Maps Nevada History in Maps
 
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Sanborn Maps of Nevada

Coordination of Historic Photos and Nevada Town Maps

The information on town maps can be enhanced with the use of city directories, census, newspapers, and photographs of similar periods. However, too often in Nevada, towns came and went before a directory would be published or a census could be taken. Many towns never had a newspaper.

Historic photographs, especially of town views and buildings, may be coordinated with town maps and are available at many locations in Nevada and online including the Nevada Historical Society, Reno; the Special Collections Department, Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno; and the Special Collections, Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Special Collections Department, Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno, offers an ever-expanding web presentation of historic photographs of Nevada.

Photos may be located through the search box provided on the site.

Note: A more inclusive search of University of Nevada, Reno, Special Collection’s photographs, many of which are not yet on the web, can be done on their web site.

Coordination of photographs of buildings or street scenes with the same site and close date on Sanborn® or other town maps in this web collection [and town map collections in other formats] can intensify and enliven the history of a particular setting through the years, cartographically and visually. Keep in mind that many towns in Nevada grew very quickly, usually as camps and often with no more than canvas and wooden buildings which did not last. The more successful mining communities such as Virginia City, Eureka and Tonopah lasted long enough to have brick buildings erected. Even so, often there is almost nothing left to see today—as in the case of Aurora and Rhyolite—and maps and pictures can help envision and document once thriving communities.

For example, using photographs below from the Special Collections Department, Knowledge Center, University of Nevada, Reno.

Piper's Opera House
Piper’s Opera House of Virginia City as seen on the Virginia City map of 1890
Piper's Opera House
The opera house [3rd building and since replaced] as seen on a photograph of similar date
Dunlop House
The Dunlop House, Virginia City, and employees stand in front of the building, approximately 1890
Dunlop House The Dunlop House as shown on the Virginia City Sanborn® map of 1890, Sheet 4, located between South C and South D Streets. Note the brick façade as indicated by the pink coloring on the map.
Gold Hill
The mining community of Gold Hill, just south of Virginia City, had a substantial school system in 1886 as indicated by the photo
Gold Hill schools From the Sanborn® map for Gold Hill [included in Virginia City] ,1890 depicting the schools
Gold Hill
An 1893 photo [above] of a blacksmith shop on the west side of Center Street, Reno, is identified as the later location for the Golden Hotel [which appears on the 1904 Sanborn® map]; the area was eventually included in Harrah’s Casino Hotel
Gold Hill Horse Shoer
The same blacksmith shop as shown on 1890 Reno Sanborn® map
Green coloring stands for `special ’ category of construction or use

The Photograph Collections of the Special Collections, Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, are substantial and particularly valuable for their southern Nevada focus. The following, courtesy of the Special Collections Department, are examples of their photos used in coordination with Sanborn® maps.

Las Vegas Hospital, 2nd Street, a frame building. Note hydrant on map [ • ] and photo.

Las Vegas Hospital
Las Vegas, 1923, Sheet 6
Las Vegas Hospital
Special Collections Department
Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Conklin Bros. Garage, Fremont Street at 3rd. Blue indicates stone, concrete or cement block construction.

Las Vegas Garage
Las Vegas, 1923, Sheet 6
Las Vegas Garage
Special Collections Department
Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Las Vegas Grammar School, 5th Street.

Las Vegas Grammar School
Las Vegas, 1923, Sheet 8
Las Vegas Grammar School
Photo about 1930
Special Collections Department
Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Hotel Nevada, Corner of Main Fremont.

Las Vegas Hotel Nevada
Las Vegas, 1923, Sheet 5
Las Vegas Hotel Nevada
A sandstone building with a wood frame veranda
Special Collections Department
Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Locating a Town Map

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