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Batavia Public Library Foundation is in the midst of a campaign—“Save the Maps:
Batavia’s Historic Map Quest”—to preserve a significant chapter in the city’s
Library owns a unique set of two historic, oversized (73 x 111 inches) fire insurance
wall maps of Batavia, which were produced by the Sanborn Map Company in early
1907. The maps are unusual because they
were printed on paper and then mounted on woven cloth and hung on spring
rollers. Back in the day, Sanborn maps usually were issued as loose sheets of
paper or sheets bound in books.
maps depict the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of Batavia in
1907 and were designed to assist fire fighters and fire insurance agents in
determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property. They
show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and
factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler
systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of
streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.
maps, one of the east side of the city, the other of the west side, are the
only known set of Sanborn wall maps of the city. They are significant and
useful resources for historical and genealogical research, urban planning,
community preservation, social studies, and
research on urban architecture and geography.
Library acquired the wall maps from Batavia resident Kyle Hohmann, who can
trace their provenance back to the Newton Wagon Company of Batavia.
Current condition of Sanborn maps
maps are in need of extensive restoration. The Foundation board of directors
decided in 2015 that the maps are an important piece of Batavia’s history and
that they could be an important resource for both scholars and students,
possibly the centerpiece of an interactive eLearning component at the Library
and in the Batavia schools. A digital version of the wall maps ultimately will
be made available to the general public via www.BataviaHistory.org.
will be done by the Graphic Conservation Company of Chicago. Once restored, the
maps will be on permanent display in the Library on the north wall of the upper