VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Architectural History - Richmond

Maps in Special Collections and Archives



Special Collections and Archives holds a number of 19th and 20th century maps of Richmond and Virginia including this 1923 map showing the nine separate annexations that occurred in Richmond from 1742 to 1923.

Baist Atlas of Richmond, VA (1889)


VCU Libraries' Digital Collections includes an online version of the Baist Map of Richmond published in 1889.  V

The Baist Atlas of the City of Richmond was published in 1889 and is a valuable resource for researchers and others interested in Richmond’s urban archeology, architectural history and historic preservation. The atlas consists of an index map and twenty large linen plates (18 ½ inches tall by 28 inches wide) mapping all areas of the city including parts of Henrico and Chesterfield counties and part of the City of Manchester, now Richmond’s South Side, which was then an independent city. 

The map was published in 1889 by the Philadelphia firm of George William Baist (1859-1927). The company produced real estate and insurance maps of some twenty different American cities from the 1880s through 1967. For a few cities, including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., they published multiple maps. The 1889 atlas of Richmond was their only published map of the city. The original atlas is housed in Special Collections and Archives at the James Branch Cabell Library. 

An earlier atlas is available from the Library of Congress. It is the Beers Atlas of 1877.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Image from the 1905 edition of the Richmond Sanborn Map showing the corner of N. Cherry and Floyd Ave.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from the Sanborn Map Company Archives, late 19th century to 1989 for Virginia, are available on microfilm on the third floor of the library AND online to researchers in the VCU Libraries. There is an online version of the 1905 Sanborn Map at the Library of Congress - access that HERE. Other libraries in Richmond have original Sanborn maps that can be viewed on site.