Our extensive map collection documents a wide range of places, times, and themes, providing information about mining, land use, transportation development, geopolitical boundaries, genealogy, and the exploration and development of Colorado and the West. This includes a significant and growing aerial photography collection covering the greater Denver area. Please note that while most of the maps for Colorado and the western United States are cataloged, most of our genealogy, topographic, and international maps are not in our online catalog. Therefore, if you don't find what you're looking for online, please contact a WHG staff member.
Maps of Colorado and the West
Maps, both modern and historic, fill these drawers, charting previous and ongoing development of Denver, mining towns and mining claims, railroads, and towns all over Colorado. Discover any of our maps in our online catalog and browse in person, too. A large number of maps showing historic Denver and beyond have been digitized and are available in our digital collections. Denver maps in the digital collections include the 1887 Sanborn insurance map atlas.
Genealogy Maps and Charts
Although our maps focus primarily on the Western United States, we have historic maps of every state in the Union—an important resource for genealogists. Additionally, Colorado fire insurance maps provide valuable information to building researchers. Our genealogy map and chart collection contains family charts along with privately published maps covering the eastern United States and Europe. As of 2016, these resources are available for the public to peruse and are located near the Western History and Genealogy Reference Desk.
A popular online resource is the Newberry Library's Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Use their site (updated in 2017), download the KMZ file to use with Google Earth Pro, or grab the shapefile to use with your favorite GIS.
We have detailed topographic maps for Colorado, ranging from the popular 7.5' series to the 1:500,000-scale state base maps, including 19th-century sheets from the 15' and 30' series. Other western states are well-covered at scales from 1:250,000 and smaller. Many of these maps are available online through either ESRI's Historical Topographic Map Explorer or through the USGS Map Locator service.
Our collection contains several thousand topographic maps from the Army Mapping Service (AMS), which later became the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). These maps provide international coverage ranging from the 1930s through the 1950s. Genealogists looking for historic maps of Eastern Europe, where place names changed frequently during the tumultuous 20th century, will find useful materials here. These maps were produced to help the United States military prepare for and fight military campaigns. During World War II, troops from the 10th Mountain Division training in Colorado used AMS maps to plan and execute their activities in Italy.
Maps in Archives
While not technically part of our map collection, thousands of archival collections contain many more maps, including military maps from the 10th Mountain Division, mining claim maps, Denver Mountain Parks, and others.
A directory of places in Colorado. Includes town/location name, county, type, notes, whether in the 1949 and/or 1996 atlas, seat, section/township/range, and reference.
Historical map of Denver, Colorado. Included is a listing of all Additions and Subdivisions until the year 1905.
The Robinson Atlas will help you to date the construction of a building and give you a picture of neighborhood development. These maps also show the legal description of your building, which is necessary for locating many historic building records.
History Colorado’s Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) and the Creating Communities Project have combined resources to highlight different historic buildings within the boundaries of specific neighborhoods. These buildings are just a small sample of the historic buildings located throughout the Denver area.