Using Sanborne Maps to get a glimpse of energy history

I am learning about former manufactured gas plants (MGPs) and recently had the opportunity to view detailed maps of Raleigh, NC dating back to 1888!  Maps produced by the Sanborn® Map Company of Pelham, New York, provide detailed information on the layout and construction of public and private buildings as well as roads and railroads in cities and towns across the state. A digital collection of maps from the 1880s through 1922 covering more than 150 cities and towns across the state is available from the UNC library.

If you haven’t checked these maps to get a glimpse of history for your city or town, take a look!  In addition to seeing how a city or town grew over time, you and your students will enjoy looking at the location of manufactured gas and later power plants relative to railroad tracks, waterways, neighborhoods, etc.

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