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Research Guides

House Histories: Maps

Resources for researching Seattle area house histories at the UW Libraries and other institutions.

Baist and Kroll Maps

Baist real estate atlas, 1912. Detail of Plate 16.

Baist real estate atlas, 1912. Detail of Plate 16.

Baist real estate atlases, published in 1905, 1908, and 1912, show similar information to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  Also shown are streetcar routes.  A copy of the 1912 Baist map has been digitized by local historians Paul Dorpat and Ron Edge.

The atlases are available as individual plates in the Reference area of Special Collections (Spec. Coll. Ref. G1489.S4 B34).

Kroll atlases show similar information and are available for most cities in the Puget Sound area.  Seattle Krolls are shelved in the Reference area of Special Collections, while other cities are housed in the Special Collections stacks and/or the Map Collection in Suzzallo Library.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

These maps started production in the 1880s as a tool for assessing fire risk for insurance purposes.  Maps were periodically updated until the 1950s.  Information shown includes building use, construction details, utility locations, flammable material storage, and floor plans.  Using multiple Sanborn maps over the course of revisions can show useful information about building renovations.

Sanborn maps are available on microfiche at the University of Washington (Microfilm A7766 - Newspapers and Microforms, first floor Suzzallo Library, 543-4164).

Digital copies are also available from the Seattle Public Library.  In some instances, consulting the (color-coded) originals may be necessary - physical copies of the maps are available at the Seattle Public Library Central Branch, in the Seattle Room (Special Collections).

Additional Maps

County maps made by Metsker show less detail than the Baist, Kroll, and Sanborn maps, but may also be useful.  King County Metskers are shelved in the Reference area in Special Collections.

Many useful city and regional maps are located in the Maps Collection, on the ground floor of Suzzallo Library.  Additional maps and atlases can be found in the library catalog using the following subject headings:
Seattle (Wash.) -- Maps
Seattle Metropolitan Area (Wash.) -- Maps.
Washington (State) -- Maps