What is the building information dataset?
The building information you see on the left when you select a purple building icon comes primarily from the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. The building information has been collected by people like you who have used our Citizen Historians apps to extract information from the maps to make a digital dataset that can be mapped and record-linked with other datasets like the Census and City Directories. Citizen Historians interpret the color coding and read the hand-written details on the Sanborn maps to create a usable digital dataset.
What can I discover using this data?
The building information from the Sanborn maps tells you the building materials, number of floors, and the general function for each building. For businesses and industrial buildings, this data also includes the name of the owners, the activities that occur in the building, and other details like the heating and electrical systems. Some of the data collected related to fire safety, like whether or not an industrial building had a night watchman, also conveys human stories about labor practices and the daily experience of workers that is not available in many other records.