This Virginia City cartouche [title block] is more elaborate and detailed than most drawn for Nevada communities with a more detailed description of water and fire fighting facilities and building descriptions. The street diagram indicates sections of the town as depicted on a specific map sheet in the set.
More typically, on Nevada maps in this web presentation, the cartouche included the town name, county and state; date of the survey and general information on the town including the population at the time of survey, very briefly stated fire protection provisions [or not] along with water availability, as well as Sanborn® publication information.
The population cited on maps in successive years can indicate the growth or decline of a town. For example, as you follow each Virginia City cartouche chronologically, left to right along the first row of images below, you will trace the city's waning from 6000 persons in 1890 to a mere 1500 in 1923.
Alternately, you might track the slow growth of Las Vegas up until its population surge resulting from the influence of the construction of Boulder Dam, World War II, and tourism. The cartouche below from the 1923 map shows a modest population of 3500.
The Key on early Sanborn® maps consisted of an unpretentious legend describing buildings by indicating the nature of the construction by color and codes for structural features:
Legends became more detailed and elaborate on later maps.
The prominent Goldfield Hotel shown on a 1909 Sanborn map is colored in red indicating a brick building with the kitchen section in stone:
Later maps of multiple sheets often included index lists of streets, businesses and institutions, indicating sheet number.
Descriptions of water facilities available for fire protection and of fire departments were a key component of town insurance maps and provide a subtle description of the economic health and sophistication of the town and the geography of the area. Later maps provided more detail than found within the earlier cartouche.
Water lines and hydrants:
Features of a community described or at least labeled on the maps provide primary information on the society and activities of a place and a time. Nevada town maps clearly reflect the early western culture largely based on mining—but not without cultural aspirations:
Every building was not identified; many were small frame structures [yellow colored] of no significance to the surveyor; many others are labeled simply "D" or "dwg" for dwelling, which were likely very modest.