Discovery of Sanborn maps for privy digging


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Thanks to Andy and Jack for adding things I didn't cover. It has been over 40 years since I used one of the maps. In our area they located privies VERY easily once we got the hang of it. The measurement on our maps were very accurate for the most part but it true not all areas and not all years are the same. There is a definite learning curve. BTW, Rock did share the maps with others (for value received [:D]) in distant locations as we had all we could do to dig all the pits in our areas.


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2find4me, there is actually one map for Blountstown but is pretty late at 1927, however there are several maps for Brewton starting in 1893 with follow-ups in '98, '03, '10, '22, '30, & '49. Check your local library or the county seat library. Jack


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Antler, I personally have never seen one with measurements as previously described. There is usually a key with inches per feet and sometimes some measurements as to width of a street or alley. Problem around here is, if the map says the alley is 16 feet wide, it is often half that width today. People love to encroach, which changes those measurements dramatically. One thing I have found to be helpful is to go walk out the measurements in my normal foot step gait. Then I bring up the map on my computer, resize the area I measured to match my footsteps, and voila! I have a fairly close (usually within a step or two) guide for any suspect structures I want to locate. Trouble comes when the measurements don't line up, ie: N/S versus E/W. In that situation, I try to locate something on the map that is still there and measure that by footsteps and use that as my guide, like the long side of a still existing house. (Tip: don't include sidewalks as they weren't included in the maps I have used.) If that doesn't work I focus on the shorter of the options as the longer one must pace out the distance the more likely to be off. I hear those wheel measurers work well too, but haven't found the need to try yet. Another off the wall tip is, in the maps official seal with the town info there is often mention of prevailing winds. Helpful when searching an unfamiliar area or even a familiar one for that matter. If the prevailing winds are from the north west, likely the privies are opposite (south east, or south), keeping the stink downwind as much as possible. PHEW! Jack

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