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Interactive Historical Sanborn Fire Maps project

Identifier: MSS-446

Content Description

This collection is a digital collection of interactive maps that combine a current aerial view with historical Sanborn fire insurance maps, allowing the user to compare what cities looked like in the past with how they look today. Historic photographs have also been pinned into the map at significant locations. The following cities and towns are included in this project: Marquette, 1917; Ishpeming, 1911; Negaunee, 1911; Republic, 1922; Michigamme, 1902; L'Anse, 1938.


  • 1902 - 2022

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from MSS-446, Interactive Historical Sanborn Fire Maps project, must be obtained from the University Archivist. The University Archivist may be reached by phone at (906) 227-1225 or email, The University Archivist may also be reached in Room 126 of the Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

Biographical / Historical

Bob Cowling created this project.

The Sanborn Map and Publishing Company, founded by Daniel Alfred Sanborn in 1867, has created detailed fire insurance maps of more than 12,000 cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Although the company still exists and publishes periodic revisions to their maps, they have not issued new catalogs since 1950. The initial purpose of the maps was to record information useful for fire insurance agents, such as property boundaries and owners, building uses, house numbers, construction materials, and the location of fire safety equipment, windows, and doors. Today, however, the maps are primarily used by municipal governments, engineers, architects, historians, and genealogists for their data on land use, urban development, ownership of buildings, and more.

Source: Library of Congress, "Introduction to the Sanborn Map Collection,"


70.8 Megabytes

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

The maps can be accessed at:

-Marquette County:


Interactive Historical Sanborn Fire Maps project
Annika Peterson
24 January 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Repository

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette 49855 United States
906-227-1333 (Fax)


This collection guide includes collections from member organizations of UPLINK (the Upper Peninsula Digital Network) as well as the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. UPLINK collections document the history of the Upper Peninsula broadly, while the Central UP & NMU Archives focuses on such topics as Northern Michigan University history, the local iron mining industry, and the politics, economics, religion, environment, and culture of the Central Upper Peninsula region.

These finding aids will give you an overview of the contents and context of each collection. Finding aids only exist for collections that each organization has shared with UPLINK or (in the case of the NMU Archives) for processed collections. For a more comprehensive list of collections that might help with your research, please contact the relevant heritage organization(s) directly.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
© 2018 by the NMU Board of Trustees. NMU is an equal opportunity institution.