Map of the Earth

This collection contains Sanborn fire insurance maps of cities across Colorado. The CU Boulder Map Library has the most complete collection of Sanborn maps of Colorado outside of the Library of Congress. The Sanborn maps owned by the University of Colorado Boulder are all in the Libraries' catalog. You can search for a specific city ("[city name] sanborn maps"). This print collection contains maps for approximately 560 cities, beginning in 1883 and ending in 1937.

A subset of this collection has been digitized. The digital collection contains maps of 79 principal cities in 52 counties covering the years 1883-1922. 

Major cities and regions of Colorado that have been digitized to date are indexed and available for viewing and downloading here.

If you do not find your city of interest on this index, the remainder of the digital collection can be searched and browsed in the CU Digital Library.

Print Sanborn maps may be viewed by appointment only. They do not circulate and may not be photocopied. Digital photos are permitted. Please call 303-492-7578 or email maplib@colorado.edu to make an appointment.

About Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

D.A. Sanborn's Company was founded in 1867 in New York City. These maps were originally designed for fire insurance underwriters to determine the risk involved in insuring individual properties. They show the size, shape, and construction of buildings as well as street names, property boundaries, and building use. Currently, they may be used for a variety of purposes, including environmental site assessment, architecture, urban history, and genealogy.

More Resources

Other libraries' holdings of Sanborn maps for Colorado and other states may be found on UC Berkeley's Union List of Sanborn and Other Fire Insurance Maps.

More information about the history and use of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps can be found at the Library of Congress website.

The Library of Congress also hosts the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online Checklist, which includes a searchable database and state-by-state index of the Sanborn maps held by the Library of Congress as well as other information about the maps.

Center for Research Libraries holds the complete set on microfilm for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (Available through Interlibrary Loan.)