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Historical Building Research: Home

Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance maps date back to 1866 when the Sanborn Company started creating mapping towns and cities throughout the United State for Insurance risk assessment purposes. The maps provide detailed information on the commercial, industrial, and residential structures in a community. 

The maps provide extensive information on the structures mapped, including the number of floors, entryways, and type of construction. In addition, the maps are wonderful tools for establishing street and address changes over time. 

What is a deed?

A legal instrument to convey or transfer ownership of property. A deed typically contains a physical description of the actual property, but not the structure(s). Deeds are useful for locating the names of previous owners and the dates for the transfer of ownership. The grantor is the seller, while the grantee is the buyer.

Deeds are public record and, in Ohio, recorded with the county recorder's office. The deed books and deed index books are typically available for research in the recorder's office. However, many Ohio counties now have Records Centers for the older county records. 

House Research at SC&A

SC&A holds extensive materials to assist with historic home and building research. We have architectural collections, local government records, business records, photographs, correspondence, maps, city directories, and other items. 

Our reading room has city directories for Dayton, Springfield, Xenia, and other Miami Valley towns as well as a large collection of county maps and published local history, genealogy, professional, and aviation resources that can provide secondary sources for your research. We also have the original Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Dayton, 1918-1954, and Springfield, 1928-1952. In addition, we have county atlas and city plat maps that can provide information on a property. 

The Dayton Daily News Archive (MS-458) is comprised of the newspaper's photograph and clipping files primarily covering the 1940s-1990s. Included are photographs and clippings for building, homes, businesses, churches, factories, streets, neighborhoods, towns, cities, and personalities. This collection is stored off-site, so please contact to check to see what is available.

Research Material Available at SC&A

Listed below are examples of some of our collections that may aid with your research projects and building research in general. The links are to the finding aids or collection guides for each collection. You will need to visit the SC&A reading room to view the material. Please note that the DDN Archive (MS-458) and many of the architectural collections are stored at an off-site location. Please email or call the archives in advance to request the material. 

Local and State Resources

Online Resources

Archivist/Reference and Outreach

Bill Stolz's picture
Bill Stolz
Dunbar Library 401
(937) 775-2232

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