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Historical Association to look at area's past, growth

Contributed To The Press • Feb 28, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Dawn Peters will present the program for the March meeting of the Watauga Historical Association at Tipton Haynes Historical Site, 2620 S. Roan St., Johnson City, on Thursday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m.

Attendees are invited to travel back in time 103 years and take a trip through the streets of Elizabethton as they appeared in 1913.

Peters will examine the town through the eyes of the representative of the Sanborn Map company as he gathered information that would determine the rate of property insurance for the town of Elizabethton.

The Sanborn map collection is a series of maps, dating from 1867 to the present, depicting the commercial, industrial and residential sections of some 12,000 cities and towns in the United States.

These 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, buildings’ uses and house and block numbers.

The large file of noncurrent Sanborn maps and atlases constitutes an invaluable historical record of urban growth in the United States over more than a century.

Local historians, genealogists and scholars consult the maps today for the wealth of detailed data that they embrace.

The largest collection of Sanborn maps and atlases is preserved in the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, where there are an estimated 700,000 Sanborn maps in bound and unbound editions.

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