A snapshot in time with … insurance maps?

Insurance companies are usually not the first source people think of when researching history. But because the companies usually carry detailed information about structures and sometimes maps, they can be a full of fruitful finds.

For Canton, a detailed map in 1921 by the Sanborn Map Company provides a snapshot of businesses, streets and services available in that moment in time.

sanborn map

An excerpt from the Sanborn Insurance map of Canton in 1921.

Part of the University of Georgia Libraries Map Collection, the Sanborn Maps database is available for anyone to explore with the tool on their website.

Looking at the 1921 Canton map, you can glean several interesting tidbits.

For example, the map details the state of the city’s water system, reservoir and the path of some of the main pipes.

Several auto and auto repair shops are in business — not surprising in 1921 — but there’s still a large stable listed. Also nearby is a garage with a 100-car capacity.

And because they were used for insurance purposes, the maps detail what kind of heating and lighting sources the structures used. The Hotel Canton, for example, used steam heat and had electric lights.

The volunteer fire department consisted of “2 companies of 6 men each, 2 chiefs, 2 hand reels & 1000′ 22″ hose.”

Explore for yourself and let us know in the comments below of interesting tidbits you see.

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