Research Tools
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Research Tools and Links

The City of Indianapolis offers several on-line zoning and permit research tools.  Additionally, information about zoning ordinances is available.

When conducting research on a property, the IHPC office and other local resources have several useful tools for finding information on a property's history. 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  The Sanborn Fire Insurance company published maps for cities and towns that recorded the footprints of buildings, building materials, and the building's use.  The IHPC office has electronic copies of these maps for 1887, 1898, 1914-1915, and 1956.  This office also has a set of Sanborn maps from 1914-15 with paste-overs through the 1950s.  Local libraries such as the Central branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library (Central Library) and the Indiana University-Purdue University Library have copies of these maps on microfilm.  For a guide to the symbols and abbreviations on the maps, please look at this guide from the University of Virginia, How to Read Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.

City Directories.  City directories are a useful tool for researching previous owners/residents of a property.  The IHPC office has a very limited collection of city directories from various years starting in 1969.  The Central Library has a large collection on microfilm and microfiche dating from 1855.

Other Resources.
The Central Library has a local history resource guide, which includes a small listing of its relevant holdings and links to other area resources for Indianapolis history.

The Indiana Historical Society has a comprehensive photo collection, which can be searched through its web site.  The Bass Photo Collection is usually the most popular research tool for photographs of Indianapolis.

The House Research Handbook, prepared by Indiana Landmarks, outlines several useful avenues to explore when researching a property.

The IHPC slide collection is now in the process of being digitized into an online library. Check out all available images here.

Please visit the Links portion of the IHPC web site for additional contact information for local, state, and national organizations dealing with historic preservation and history.