Home Research and the Pikes Peak Library District
Have you ever wondered who lived in your house? What they did for a living. There are many reasons to research a home’s history. You may want to apply for recognition of your historic home (listing on National Register of Historic Places), looking to buy or sell a home, or you’re just curious!
Online Home Research Resources
An important source of information can be found in Pikes Peak Library District’s collection of City directories (1879-1922) – http://www.ppld.org/colorado-springs-city-directories-1879-1922 City directories can provide valuable genealogical and historical information about people by name and address, and occupation. They list residents alphabetically by surname and usually indicate a person’s address – this can help determine when a home was built, who lived there, and when.
This is another important source of information: El Paso County Assessor– https://assessor.elpasoco.com/ Input your address and the County Assessor will list the size of the structure and property, home value, last selling price, additions, and a year the house was built (keep in mind it may not all be correct!).
Pikes Peak NewsFinder – http://more.ppld.org/SpecialCollections/Index/article_search.asp
- Newspapers – search local news for addressed or the names of people who lived at a specific location.
- Homicide Index – search by address or street name to see if a homicide was committed there
Pikes Peak Regional Building Department – http://www.pprbd.org Click on Permit Search to search for building permits by address. If the structure was moved, the permit will tell you where it was before. Regional Building also has blueprints on microfilm from about 1977.
Sanborn fire insurance maps – https://www.loc.gov/collections/sanborn-maps The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online Checklist provides a searchable database of the fire insurance maps published by the Sanborn Map Company. Narrow by state, county, then city to see if a floorplan of your home is included (up to and including 1907).
Kit houses – http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/1908-1914.htm Between 1908 and 1940 Sears Roebuck sold building supplies, house plans and kit houses by mail-order (over 100,000 homes were sold this way). Check your cellar/attic for numbers or words stamped on joists and rafters and use the Sears archive to see if your house might match one of their models.
Home Research Resources at Special Collections at Penrose Library
Building permits: Special Collections has building permits from 1900-1964, moving and wrecking permits from 1911-1974, and some tapping permits for the 1870-1880s. Some indexing exists for the early 1900s permits. If it was built earlier, there may be a notice in the paper.
Tapping records (1902-1940; not comprehensive): We have tapping record books, indexed by street, that record when water taps were installed by address. These contain the date the tap was installed, the size and location of the tap, and often include the homeowner’s name.
City directories (1872-current): While city directories from 1872-1922 are available online, physical copies from 1872 to present are available in Special Collections.
The Shooks Run Inventory of Historic Sites – 1978
Aerial photographs (1930-1990s): Aerial photographs of El Paso County allow you to visually look at land and homes at different points in time.
Blueprints: Special Collections has a limited collection of prominent local homes and buildings.
Published inventories and resources:
- North End Historic District Design Guidelines (720.288 N864 1995)
- Historic Sites & Structures, El Paso County (917.8856 F853H)
- Old Colorado City Historic Inventory (978.856 C7191O)
- The Westside: An Introduction to Its History & Architecture (978.856 A141W)
- Design Guidelines for the North Weber/Wahsatch Historic District (720.288 D457)
- Sadie’s House (917.8856 R152S 1986)
Subsidence maps: Dozens and dozens of coal mines were in operation in El Paso County from 1883-1965 and a great number of these mines lie beneath Colorado Springs. Subsidence maps will show where the underground workings are in relation to the streets in Colorado Springs.
Additional archival collections
Inventory of the Old North End Neighborhood Plaque Application Records, 1873-ongoing. To obtain a plaque, homeowners conduct research on their homes and submit an application. These records consist of this research and include photographs, copies of deeds, and narratives of significant homeowners.
Historic Sites and Structures, El Paso County, Colorado, Inventory Files. This collection includes photocopies of State Inventory Forms completed during a 1976 survey of potentially historic sites and structures within El Paso County, Colorado. The files are sometimes accompanied by clippings or other background information such as site name, address, owner, physical description, and information about its significance.
Historic Buildings and Places in the Pikes Peak Region Files: A small file containing basic details of a collection of local buildings and residences. It is not comprehensive, but worth checking.