5103 Cultural Heritage Preservation

Houston Architecture Resources
using Sanborn Maps
and Census Data

[Printable version]

How to use the HCAD (Harris County Appraisal District site)
First click on ‘Property Address’ for the search.  There are 2 options, one if you know the exact number, and one for a range. Start here: enter 1100 to 1300 Main.  How many addresses?Note that it only brings up the first 10 immediately:

Choose one and explore what sort of information it provides.

What is the range you need for this project? How many houses?

This gives you a good starting point- what year was the house built that you chose?

Account information example

Choose one and explore what sort of information it provides.

What is the range you need for this project? How many houses?

This gives you a good starting point- what year was the house built that you chose?

How to use the American FactFinder site

Now we know a target address, go to the FactFinder site. On the left side, there is a link down at the bottom for ‘specific address.’ Click this, and then enter the address and zip code (77019)

Note the information it provides:
Example of Tax information

Now select the Census Tract number:
Example of Census Tract information

And click ‘ok’

Look at the information this pulls up.

Feel free to explore.

If you click on the reference map:

How to use the Sanborn Maps

Sanborn Key

This is a multi-step process:

First select a state (we only have access to Texas) and city (choose Houston).

There is a drop down box by date; look and see the date ranges. Your screen should look like this:

There is a drop down box by date; look and see the date ranges

This is where we have to do some detective work. The 1955 date, as we see, is a survey of shopping centers at that time; there were a lot of them being built. Houston was growing.

The asterisk by the second to last date range indicates that this was the result of census data.

Why the range? The first date is when the map was initiated, and the last date is the finish date.
Open this range up. You see small pictures, and there are two to focus on; the Key Sheet and Index Sheet:

 Example of ranges

The Index Sheet is an alphabetical index by street name or building. They have address ranges as well:

example of Index Sheet - Alphabetical Index

If you have ever used a Key Map™ then you understand the concept behind the Key Sheet.

The problem is that you can often be fooled into thinking that this is a Key to the whole city- it isn’t.

We must realize that there are volumes for different parts; just as in a Key Map™ the pages refer you to which page to turn, the edges of the volume tells you which volume to open up next; this is why you need to have a good idea of where the place is currently- you could spend a lot of time on just one volume.

Example of Houston dataThe volume needed is 5.
 Now start to look at the index for this street, and find that the sheet we need to open is 514.
 Help Files


Maintained by Karl Henson, Library Webmaster
Updated 3/24/2014

 

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