Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAPS

Morning Star, January 5, 2020, pg. 7

Happy New Year, everyone! While doing research, it is always good to have a map of "what-was-where" in order to properly identify a location. The old city directories are somewhat helpful when studying the street listings, but address numbers can sometimes change as buildings are demolished, rebuilt, or merged with another unit next door.

One great reference source I've found of great help are the Sanborn Map Company Fire Insurance Maps. These were produced in the late 19th, and 20th centuries to "allow and fire insurance companies to access their total liability in urbanized areas of the United States," according to Wikipedia. These maps are loaded with helpful information to researchers, especially about downtown areas. There are drawings of building outlines, the type of businesses located there, house and block numbers, color-coding composition of the building materials, location of fire hydrants, and other data.

For Albion, available maps exist dated September 1888, July 1893, October 1907, February 1900, March, 1913, and July 1918. Springport maps are dated November 1892, January 1900, August 1909, and April 1918. Concord has three maps, dated July 1893, February 1900, and October 1911. Parma's maps are dated November 1892, January 1900, May 1913, and September 1930. Homer's maps are dated September 1888, June 1893, November 1899, September 1907, and January 1913. These are all found on the Library of Congress website. To access these maps there, type in "Sanborn Insurance Map, Albion, Michigan (or your town)" in your search engine. You'll get the LOC links which you can click on and choose whatever year you want. You can enlarge them, download them and print them to your own pleasure. You will be surprised what is there!

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a portion of downtown Albion as mapped out in 1907 on the west side of N. Superior St. This shows the researcher what businesses were located "over the River" during the Great Flood of 1908. On the bottom is the corner of Cass & Superior Sts. is the U.S. Post Office in the Parker-Kessler block at 101. 103 is a General Store; 105 is a Hardware Store; 107 (over the River begins here) is the E. C. Deyoe Grocery Store, while 109 is the Fruit Stand of Italian immigrant Robert Cascarelli. The small jewelry store of Robert F. Church is located at 111, with the Morse Clothing Store at 113, and the Temple Theatre at 113. On the north bank of the River at 115 is the Frank Steinkrauss Saloon, with the Church & Broas grocery store at 117, and the Archie Miller Drug Store at 119." I encourage our readers to go online and take a look at these maps.


1907 Sanborn Insurance Map, West side of N. Superior St.

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