Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
In 2018 the Ridgewood Public Library received a grant to restore and preserve three Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (1916, 1925 & 1928). To view these maps, please call 201-670-5600 x135 or email
What Are Sanborn Maps?
The Sanborn Map Company published thousands of large-scale maps of U.S. cities and towns in the early 20th century. The maps were originally created to help fire insurance companies get the "lay of the land," and know better how to insure a particular building. They even designated details like screened-in porches, garages, and what kind of heat a commercial building used. While the Sanborn maps no longer serve a practical purpose for insurance companies, they have become an invaluable resource for historians.
How Did RPL Obtain The Maps?
In 2018 the Ridgewood Public Library received a donation from the Grotz family of three Sanborn maps of Ridgewood, dated 1916, 1925 and 1928 (the Library previously had a map from 1930 in its collection).
Funding has been made possible in part through grants administered by the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, Department of Parks, through a General Operating Support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.
Why Did RPL Restore The Maps?
RPL applied for and received grant funding in order to restore these valuable maps. Though in good condition when we received them, the maps had not been stored properly and needed to be treated for mold removal. The binding also needed restoration.
With the help of Brenwasser Studios in Wyckoff, we were able to treat and remove the mold on all three maps.
The maps were then transported to
Lo Gatto Bookbindery in East Rutherford, where they were re-bound with new encasements that would allow the books to be handled.
As a result, the three Sanborn maps are now properly stored and maintained in the Bolger Heritage Center Archives. To view the maps, please make an appointment with Local History Librarian Sarah Kiefer, email or call
Sanborn Maps and House Histories
Sanborn maps provide details on streets, commercial buildings and houses. These details can provide you with information on the structure of your house, the layout of your street, and can also help estimate when your home was built, by comparing maps of different publishing dates. In addition to Ridgewood, the 1916 Sanborn map also includes the towns of Glen Rock, Ho-Ho-Kus, and Midland Park. To begin your research, please go to our House History Research Guide page which you can access by clicking here.
See its website for details and information on Sanborn maps.
For a full listing of New Jersey Sanborn maps please click here.
Library of Congress
For a full listing of its New Jersey Sanborn maps, please click here.
For a full listing of its Bergen County Sanborn maps, please click here.
Library of Congress: T: 202-707-5000
101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20540