One of the earliest and most requested items we have at the Monroe County History Center’s Research Library is entitled “A New Gazetteer Map of Monroe County, Indiana” dated 1856. We link to a few of our favorite maps on our web page, but there are a couple of other online sources for early Indiana and Bloomington and Monroe County maps.
Indiana Historic Maps includes more than 1200 scanned maps from Indiana, including more than 43 from Bloomington/Monroe County. Most date before 1923 so copyright is not a question, but other maps in the public domain are included when possible. Like the 1856 map mentioned above, there are maps from 1920 (Van Buskirk), 1930 (Clevenger), and 1950 (Stapleton) that indicate land owners or cadastral maps. One of my favorite maps of A Road Map of Monroe County by the Indiana Geological Survey dates to 1906 before roads were “numbered”. Another is the Detail Geological Map of the Vicinity of Bloomington, Indiana dated 1896 showing Hunter Valley.
Excluded from Indiana Historic Maps are two very popular map series: the USGS topographic maps and the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps.
For the Topographic Maps see the Historical Topographic Map Collection at the USGS.gov website or the IUB Libraries have made an easy list by topo quad name. For print of course see the all states at the IUB Map Collections or those surrounding Monroe County at the MCHC Research Library.
For the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: IU Libraries Map Collection’ Union List of Sanborns includes links to those digitized maps out of copyright and in the public domain. These are listed by place name, then date. The IU Spatial Data Portal also includes the Sanborns (both in tif and pdf). Select Single file download, then use the map to focus in on the city you are researching. For original print, see the IUB Maps Collections located in Wells Library or 11 x 17” black/white duplicate for Monroe County at the MCHC Research Library.
I also recommend the following online resources:
Indiana State Library’s Map website provides a list of their map (print) holdings by county:
The Library of Congress’s Geography and Map Division provides hundreds of online maps through American Memory:
David Rumsey’s rare map collection is a delight and international in scope. It includes the Andreas Indiana Atlas of 1876 and the Asher New Topographical Atlas and Gazetteer of Indiana 1870.
Many of these services provide high resolution images or will assist in obtaining them.
Remember that the MCHC Research Library has collected various years of the Monroe County plat books (and the maps mentioned above) to assist researchers in locating specific properties of their ancestors or to identify roads or other geographic features of interest. As we near 2016 and the Bicentennial of our state it is important to know how geographic boundaries developed over the years and perhaps the best source to study is Pence and Armstrong’s Indiana boundaries: territory, state, and county. (MCHC Research Library: F526 .B7P4).
Post Submitted by Lou Malcomb (Research Library Volunteer)