Genealogy tools

Fire insurance maps


Morgan City in 1885

Curious what downtown Morgan City looked like in 1885? You’re in luck! The Library of Congress can help with that.

The library has a collection of fire insurance maps – all online – that sketch out the commercial areas of towns in the 19th and 20th centuries. Here’s the link for Louisiana:

From what I can gather, a company called the Sanborn Map Company specialized in drawing maps for insurance companies. The maps weren’t published after the 1970s, but the offer an invaluable look at downtowns through the years.

I now know, for example, that a wagon shop was being constructed next to the grocers in Napoleonville when the mapmaker visited in 1885. It was just down the street from the saloon.

Have fun exploring!

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