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St. Louis Area Historic Maps

A guide to locating historic maps of the St. Louis (Missouri) regional area.

What are Fire Insurance Maps?

Originally created for the fire insurance industry, these maps provide the most complete visual record of the evolving built environment in St. Louis, covering commercial, industrial, and residential neighborhoods. Urban planners, architects, urban archeologists, and historians as well as to those engaged in family, neighborhood, and house history regularly consult the fire insurance maps.

In St. Louis, Alphonso Whipple produced fire insurance maps between 1870 and 1898.  This company was then absorbed by the larger Sanborn Company.

Sanborn maps date back to the 1860s and were created as a detailed building record by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company.  They are large scale (50 feet to the inch) and highly detail and include such information as building location, construction materials, and building height.

Sanborn Maps in Print

The latest print edition (1998) of Sanborn maps for St. Louis can be viewed in the Art and Architecture Library Reference Section.  Use the available street index to locate the volume and page for your area of interest.

Older (1990) paper editions of the Sanborn Maps are held in the West Campus Library.

Digital Whipple Maps of St. Louis

Currently use of these paper maps is restricted by their brittle condition, but through this joint digital project, the maps are now made available to the public.

Digital Sanborn Maps of Missouri 1867-1970

Digital Sanborn Maps is an online resource consisting of scanned black and white images of Sanborn maps for Missouri.  The maps were produced between 1876 and 1970, and can be searched by city and date.

Maps for St. Louis are available from circa 1903 - 1950