old houston maps
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maria g. on Aug 1 2011 9:42AM #1
I am interested in finding old maps of the wards. I used to live there as a kid and would like to find paper work on the homes that were on my block. How can I do this?
Steve J. on Aug 21 2011 5:11AM #2
How old do you mean? I
Tina H. on Aug 20 2013 4:37PM #3
I too am interested in old maps of the Wards that would indicate where there were residences. Particularly Fifth Ward. My dad grew up on Mary Street, near the Buffalo Bayou and Hennessey Park. We grew up in California, and upon a recent visit, could not find but a few blocks. But he spoke often about his old neighborhood on Mary Street and told us a rail line ran down the middle of his street.
Tina H. on Aug 20 2013 4:37PM #4
Particularly between the years 1940-50.
Brett P. on Aug 23 2013 10:56AM #5
Are you referring to Sanborn Maps?

M T. on Apr 2 2016 4:47PM #6
This won't help the original posters, but may be useful for anyone who gets here via a search...

Aerial views provide information that maps don't, and vice versa.
For old street maps, I'd generally start at major libraries in the area (local or regional). The Sanborn maps had a good coverage of the cities, and gave building-level information, but I don't know of a free online source. For 1900 era maps, there were also a number of panoramic or birds-eye view drawings of many cities. Check the Library of Congress site for such maps.
A set of links to old Houston maps (and other old Houston info) can be found at

City directories (later, phone books) provide information tying people to specific addresses. Reverse directories have the street names in alphabetical order. Under each street name is the list of addresses and the name(s) of the resident(s). Handy for looking for neighbors, or school classmates, of long ago. Again, try the local or regional libraries. A list of directories (not online) for Houston at the University of Texas is
It costs money, but it may be more convenient to access the directories at Ancestry.com. They have decent coverage of the major cities. Some have reverse directories. This is a link to a 1956 reverse directory for Houston.

I should also mention Wikipedia, as it is a resource that continues to grow. Specifically, for the 5th ward, their 1920 map shows a rail or streetcar line running on Mary for a number of blocks.
Once you've seen that, you can see the line is still there in a 1942 map.

Finally, if you're looking for the owner of property, the deeds were recorded and taxed. That info may be available. I might start by asking a title company as they should be very familiar with the sources.
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