Historic maps of Charlottesville
the Charlottesville of 1920, Vinegar Hill had not been razed,
the downtown railroad roundabout was still in existence, and the
residential area on Jefferson Park Avenue was still developing.
At the University, the amphitheater was not yet built and dormitories
on Dawson's Row were still in use. Maps of these areas and others
in the city that clearly show land parcels, street and utility
networks, and homes and businesses can be viewed online at a new
U.Va. Web site.
University of Virginia Library holds a complete microfilm
collection of all Virginia city and town maps that were
drawn by the Sanborn Map Company from 1885-1970. The library
also holds a pair of original map books for the City of
Charlottesville, for 1907 and 1920.
is a detail from map 6 of U.Va.'s Sanborn collection, showing
"the Corner" area from the entrance to the Corner
Parking Lot (at Littlejohn's) to the intersection of 14th
Street and University Avenue.
Sanborn fire insurance maps at the U.Va. library's Geostat
Center Web site, http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu
by the library's Geospatial and Statistical Data Center, the site
allows viewers to browse more than 40 highly detailed, hand-drawn
maps produced by the Sanborn Map Company, formerly of New York.
The maps were originally produced to assess the risk of fire and
cost of insurance. The company produced hundreds of thousands
of such maps of cities and towns throughout the United States
from the 1880s until after World War II.
of succeeding series of maps can aid historians, urban planners,
architectural historians and others in tracing the development
of American towns over the first half of the 20th century.
were sold primarily to national or regional underwriting associations.
... Sanborn [held] a virtual monopoly by 1920, and by the late
1930s the company had surveyed 13,000 towns," wrote Chris
Nehls, a U.Va. history graduate student and staff member at the
Geostat Center, in a brief historical essay linked at the Web
the maps depict most of Charlottesville's major business district
and many of its residential areas, they do not show all of Charlottesville
in 1920. Areas that were not heavily developed are not depicted.
Local historians will note that predominantly African-American
communities such as Fifeville are not shown on the maps, although
that area of town was well built at the time.
The library's Special
Collections Department holds two of the original, 21 inch-by-25
inch map books for Charlottesville: the newly digitized one for
1920, and another for 1907, which will be photographed and added
to the Web site in the future.
addition to the maps, the site also includes a key to the symbols
used, a bibliography for further research and an index to similar
maps on microfilm. The site was developed with assistance from
the staff of Special Collections and the Early American Fiction
Sanborn also produced maps of Charlottesville for 1886, 1902,
1913 and 1937. A complete microfilm collection of all Sanborn
maps for Virginia communities and the District of Columbia is
available in the Government Information Resources department,
on the third floor of Alderman Library.