With today's post, we want to focus on ways in which to establish variant street addresses associated with a given property. Tracking down information related to corner lots can be especially tricky because business owners and tenants (especially saloons) would often alter address information with some frequency. When we came across the stretch of St. Bernard Avenue shown above -- which boasts three completely different street numbers above its roll down security shutter, it provided us with the opportunity to mention some helpful resources.
If you don't know the name of the owner, tenant or business associated with a property,* fire insurance atlases can be especially beneficial tools for establishing historic street addresses. Most researchers are familiar with those produced by the Sanborn Map & Publishing Company. It is worth mentioning that for New Orleans, there were a number of notable late nineteenth century atlases independently developed by surveyor-architects Braun, Celles and Langermann.
Establishing the municipal district and square number for a property can be a great starting place. An easy way to do this is to consult the City of New Orleans Property Viewer and the District Guide to the Robinson Atlas. Using that method for the property shown above yields the following information:
Municipal District 3
Square 378 B
John Braun's 1877 atlas shows the irregularly shaped square as:
Nearly twenty years later, the Sanborn Company similarly mapped the square, this time with the new street numbering system in place:
By 1964, what had been a residential square had largely become commercialized. Structures in close proximity to the corner filling station were built of concrete block ("C.B." in blue).
Knowing the variant street addresses for a property provides researchers with additional access points by which they may search historic newspapers, legal documents and surveyors' records. The Southeastern Architectural Archive's Guy Seghers Office Records, for example, is largely organized by municipal district and square number. Searching historic newspaper databases using variant street addresses can be especially beneficial.
For online access to Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases, consult Tulane University Libraries' Databases.
Images above: 1131-1139 St. Bernard Avenue. Google Street View. April 2014.
"Square 378." John Braun. Plan book of the third district comprising 7th., 8th., and 9th., ward, New Orleans; showing subdivisions of squares, with the present improvements thereon. New Orleans, 1877. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
"Square 378." Sanborn Atlas, 1896. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
"Square 378" Sanborn Atlas, 1908 corrected to 1934. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
"Square 378." Sanborn Atlas, 1937 corrected to 1964. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.
*If you do know this information, city directories can yield street address information. Most of New Orleans' city directories are digitized and available through Tulane University Library's subscription to Ancestry Library.