This summer I was introduced to what are known as Sanborn Maps. These maps were created by the Sanborn Insurance Company as insurance maps, but what they also did was go into detail about the structures on the maps. Details are listed such as what the structures were made of, if they had fireplaces, if they were more than 1 story etc. What I most enjoy about these maps is that they give you a way of putting together neighborhoods that are long gone.
For example, I never knew that the Morning Star Baptist Church was once located on present day Spring Street and used as an annex to the Lauderdale County Training School. All of this information I gained from a Sanborn Map of Ripley.
Feb 1927 Sanborn Map, Map #5 showing Lauderdale County Training School and Morning Star Baptist Church on Spring Street (previously Handsome Street)
Now I am also curious as to how Handsome Street became known as Spring Street.
Now for the limitations…
Sanborn Maps were only done for specific areas. From what I can tell maps were never created for Henning or Durhamville which is a shame given their close proximity to Ripley. It would have been interesting to discover the neighborhoods of Durhamville especially since that town’s original structures have been lost to history.
Now for the possibilities…
Imagine just what can be discovered and created using a combination of Sanborn Maps, land deeds, and public memory? I’ve got a few ideas running through my mind and I cannot wait to try them out.
– Source: Feb 1927 Sanborn Map of Ripley, TN, Map #5. sanborn.umi.com