Maps on History of the San José Area

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This page describes the hard copy local history maps located in the California Room and provides links to selected online historical maps of the San José area.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Maps Online
Digital Sanborn Maps of Cities Throughout California, 1867-1970

Sanborn Maps in the California Room
The California Room has Sanborn Maps in print and on microfilm for San José and other Santa Clara County cities.

What Are Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps?
Sanborn Maps show in great detail lots, houses, businesses, and other structures in a city's central district. These maps are also color coded to show the type of construction: concrete, wood frame, brick, etc.

Originally used by insurance agents to set fire insurance rates, Sanborn Maps help date structures, find original lot and building outlines, and locate outbuildings. By comparing maps with different publication dates, you can see how cities and neighborhoods change over the years.

Historical Street and Other Maps

Historical San José Maps Online
Historical Maps of San José: 1862, 1875, and ca. 1901
"Bird's eye view" maps of San José that let you zoom in and see details of buildings
How To Use: Click on a map and read the instructions at the top of the page before resizing the map.

Historical Maps in the California Room:

  • Street maps of San José dating back to 1872
  • Street maps of other individual cities in Santa Clara County
  • Street maps for San Francisco and some other cities outside Santa Clara County
  • Geologic, earthquake, planning, and land use maps for San José and Santa Clara County
  • Other historical maps of Santa Clara County

Historical Topographic Maps

Historical Topographic Maps Online
Historical Topographic Maps of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, 1895-present

Historical Topographic Maps in the California Room
The California Room has historical topographic maps showing natural and manmade features for Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties dating back to 1899.


California Room
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, 5th Floor
150 E. San Fernando St.
San José, CA 95112
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