Sanborn Fire Insurance maps are one of the most valuable tools available to researchers, preservationists, and historians. The large scale maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers. The maps show all the structures in a town at a given point in time and were updated at various intervals. Rivers, mills, hotels, railroad facilities, churches, schools, libraries and more are shown on these maps. The Sanborn Map Company, which is still in business, produced over 50,000 maps of over 12,000 cities and towns, starting in 1867.
Unfortunately maps were not produced for all towns in the White Mountains. We've included below maps for 14 towns. For most of the towns, several sets of maps were issued at differing dates. The maps that we're using were, with certain exceptions, created in the first decade of the 20th century. This allows for a comparison of one to another, however inexact that may be. Other issues exist for most of the 14 towns.
These maps are from the Evans Map Room at Dartmouth College. In most cases, additional years are on-line (although at a lower resolution). For more information on the Sanborn Company and the maps, use the Library of Congress website.
Clicking on any map below will bring up the full set for that year. Most have several pages. In order to make these maps readable, some file sizes are larger and may load slowly. The first page of each set of maps has a "key" that explains the color coding of the buildings, an index to special map in-lays and the scale used.