Philadelphia Information Locator Service
Archival Record Series

Surveyors, Board of

[Record Group 90]

90.1 Annual Report
1886, 1892, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1908, 1909, 1911-1918, 1937, 1939-1941, 1943, 1944, 1948, 1952-1954, 1958 (supplement)
30 volumes, index
For other Annual Reports between 1856-1938, see Office of the Mayor, Annual Reports
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.2 Annual Report of the Board of Surveyors, Departmental Board of; Department of Streets
1953
1 volume
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.3 Board of Surveyors. Minutes
1925-1926, 1929-1935
1 cu.ft.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.4 Digest of Orders Issued by Director of Public Works and Chief Engineer and Surveyor
1888-1913
1 volume, index
Compiled by office of Chief Engineer and Surveyor; entries include letters of general instruction by Director of Public Works to Chief Engineer and his notices to District Surveyors conveying these and his own instructions to them.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.5 Data Requests
1894-1895
1 volume
Requests by Chief Engineer and Surveyor to district surveyors for grade information; also included are some notes of instruction.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.6 Draughts, City Blocks
ca. 1814
5 volumes
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.
90.7 Summaries of Board of Surveyors Meetings
1969 - 1984, 1988 - present
8 folders, no index
Memoranda sent by the President of the Board of Surveyors to the Commissioner of Streets indicating matters which were acted upon at each monthly meeting of the Board. These matters usually concern changes to the City Plan, including revision of street lines and grades, vacating legally opened streets and placing new streets on the City Plan. Also included, occasionally, are changes of street names and approvals of deeds of dedication for new streets.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.8 Maps, City Survey Districts
1948-1962
1 volume
Series of maps showing boundaries of all City Survey Districts in 1854, 1868, 1890, 1901, 1925, 1929, 1932, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1957, 1962
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.9 Maps, Philadelphia Area Airfields
1927, 1936
2 maps
1927 map of overall area contains detailed insets for Philadelphia Airport at Island Road and Penrose Avenue; Pitcairn Field at Horsham and Meeting House Roads, Montgomery County; Keystone Aircraft Corporation field, Bristol, Pennsylvania; Moro Phillips Field in Camden; site of Media Field (no details available) on Baltimore Pike; scale 1" = 1 mile; 1936 map of Philadelphia Airport and vicinity marked with color code and a wind rose. Scale 1" = 500'.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.10 Registry Office - Title Registration Sheets
1865-1956
1322 , no index
Under an Act of Assembly approved on 14 March 1865, entitled "An Act to Promote the More Certain and Equal Assessment of Taxes, in Philadelphia," the Chief Engineer and Surveyor of the City of Philadelphia was required to create "books of plans of the said city, divided into sections . . . which shall show the situation and dimensions of each property therein . . . . " The Act further required that each seller and buyer of ground within the city make a report to the Chief Engineer & Surveyor of every conveyance made with the precise dimensions and locality of the property. Once this report was made, the Survey Office would note it on the deed. If no such notation appeared on the deed, then the Recorder of Deeds Office was required to charge an additional fee to make the report to the Survey Office. This Act also required any transfer of property to be reported to the Survey office, whether it was through a buyer/seller conveyance, sheriff's deed, deed of partition, will, or any other method. The Bureau of Surveys created a Registry Office which created the original plans of the city, updated the plot dimensions when necessary, and maintained the books and files of the information relative to all transfers of property within the City. After the passage of the Home Rule Charter and the absorption of the Office of the Recorder of Deeds into the newly-created Department of Records, the City transferred this office from the Streets Department to the Recorder of Deeds at the end of 1956.
Most of the books created as part of this Act were lost, destroyed or heavily damaged. The plans which accompanied the books are still part of the active records of the Deed Registry Unit of the Department of Records. The City Archives has mylar copies of many of the plans which cover South Philadelphia.
The forms required to be filed with the Survey Office still exist. These forms were microfilmed and became part of the permanent record of each property on file in the Department of Records, Deed Registry Unit. The forms were in use from 1865 to 1958, when the Department of Records discontinued the forms and microfilmed the actual deed in its place.
The original transfer of property forms contained the date of the transaction, the former owner (grantor) and the present owner (grantee), the number of the house (if applicable), and the description of the property as given on the deed. Starting in the 1940s, the address of the present owner was also required if different from the address of the property. By the beginning of the 20th century, the form did not require an exact transcription of the deed and most of the forms contained only the barest information regarding the property dimensions. The forms containing the information from the sheriff's deeds usually have the a clipping from a newspaper in which the sheriff's office published advance notice of the sale.
If the name of the former owner does not match the name of the present owner on the previous transfer form, then the information regarding the devolution of title between the two transfers is noted in red ink on the later form.
The entire City was divided into a grid plan in which the properties north of Market Street contained the notation "N" and those south of Market Street "S". Each plot within a particular plan was given a unique number. If the dimensions of the property changed, then that number was discontinued and a new number(s) was assigned to the property or properties which covered that piece of ground. The first sheet that covered the new number would indicate whether it was a subdivision of an earlier number or covered several earlier numbers.
Although the Act established the system in 1865, not all property transfers start in that year. Many of the original transfers noted for the various lots may have occurred as late as the 1870s while the City was trying to establish the system city-wide. On the other hand, many earlier transfers were entered as part of the City's attempt to note the current owner of every property.
Location: City Archives, 401 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19108
90.11 Map, League Island Park
1938
Park bounded by Broad Street, Pattison Avenue, line of 20th Street extended, and railroad parallel to north short of Reserve Basin of U. S. Naval Base; indicates all facilities in park. Scale: 1" = 200'
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.12 Plans, Perspectives, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
1889-1925
5 maps
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.
90.13 Perspectives, Proposed Public Squares and Buildings
1914-1916
4 maps
Artists' conceptions of proposed area improvement; views drawn eastwardly from intersection of 20th Street, Moyamensing Avenue and Packer Avenue, 1914; northeasterly from Pattison and Penrose Avenues, 1915; eastwardly from Pennypacker Avenue, Island Road and 76th Street, 1916; westwardly from 73rd Street and Elmwood Avenue, 1916.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.14 Indexes, Plans and Surveys

2 volumes
Include 1 vol., undated (ca. 1864) index, the entries in which list the area covered by a plan or survey, surveyor's name, reference to file case, dates survey approved by any or all of State Assembly, courts, or City Councils; dates of surveys range 1787-1864; no clear relation to DRAUGHTS, CITY BLOCKS, Record Series 90.6; also a 1 vol. undated "Index to Railroad Plans" entries in which include references to public transit company tracks as well as railroads, and which list streets in which tracks laid (with beginning and end points), company name, plan index number, date plan approved, citation of authorizing City ordinance or Act of State Assembly; approval dates range 1858-1956.
Index to Railroad Plans also available on microfilm
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.15 Ledger, Legal Openings of Streets
ca. 1900
1 volume
Entries list street name (and former name, if any), width, starting and end points, ward in which located, method of opening, date of opening (range 1696-1900); volume include street names of which begin with A and B only.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.16 Cross Sections, Street Beds
1899
2 volumes, index
Plate show street locations and sections of beds at 100 foot intervals.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.17 Cost Data, Openings of Tulip and Emerald Streets
updated
1 volume
Rough entries listing, chiefly, quantities of materials received and used.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.18 "Exhibit of Sewers"
1867-1885
1 volume
Annual listings of sewers built, entries for each of which list location, date of authorization, size, inlets, costs, builder.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.19 Photographs, Blueprints, of Sewer Projects
1917-1932
1 cu.ft., index
Projects include 40th Ward drainage channels 1924-1928, and intercepting sewer 1924-1925; 43rd Street sewer 1932; sewage disposal on upper Frankford Creek 1929-1931; lower Frankford Creek collecting sewer 1931-1932; main gravity and intercepting sewers Penrose Ave. to Mingo Creek 1931; 80th Street sewer 1925; Model Farm (Kingsley Estate) project 1917.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.21 Specifications for Bridges
1871-1909
4 pamphlets, no index
Specifications published for the construction of the Girard Avenue Bridge and Fairmount (Spring Garden) Bridge in 1871-1872, the bridge on line of Hunting Park Avenue under the Chestnut Hill Connecting Railway in 1909, and general specifications published for the Bureau of Surveys in 1904.
Girard Bridge pamphlet missing
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.22 "Estimates" of Work Done on the Fairmount (Spring Garden) Bridge
1871-1875
2 volumes
Periodic reports of Chief Engineer and Surveyor to Chief Commissioner of Highways and City Solicitor of work by bridge contractors; list labor and materials used, unit and total costs.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.23 Files of the Bureaus of Surveys, Engineering and Surveys, and Engineering, Surveys and Zoning
1901-1951
3 cu.ft.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.
90.24 Bureau of Surveys and Design. Project Files
1951-1969
2 cu.ft., 1 map
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.
90.25 "Extracts From John Reed's Book and Measures of the Most Principal Streets, Squares, etc. Taken by the Regulators Since the Year 1782, Collected by Thomas Nevell"
ca. 1782
1 volume
The extracts from John Reed's Book include the dates of surveys of all lots in the City of Philadelphia as far as Eighth Street from the Delaware River, location by survey division and section and by street location, names of "takers up" of lots, dimensions in feet, and also some numbers in red ink the purpose of which is not yet determined. The second part of the volume includes the distances between streets and total distances of the city south to north from Cedar to Vine and east to west from the Delaware to the Schuylkill rivers. Folded into the volume is a single undated sheet giving reasons "sewers should be constructed on Walnut Street with lateral branches on the North Side" at 7th to 10th streets.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.26 Reports
1911, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1948
5 volumes
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Shelf list is available.
90.27 Change in Street Names
1858, 1897
2 volumes
Volume for 1858 includes the ordinance to change the names of certain streets, lanes, alleys, courts in the city of Philadelphia, dated September 1, 1858. Former names of streets are listed, alphabetically, together with the location of the street and the new name given to it. The volume for 1897 lists, alphabetically, names of intermediate streets as approved by the Board of Surveyors February 23, 1897, their location and old street name. This volume also contains a key to street names which lists the names of streets, both north and south, and east and west, that fall between major streets.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.28 Map of the City of Philadelphia
ca. 1784-1797
Covers area bounded by Vine Street, Cedar (South) Street, the Delaware River and Broad Street; includes street names and locations, and location of the Alms House and the House of Employment, burial grounds, churches, the Friends' Alms House, the New Market on Second Street, Pennsylvania Hospital, public landings, the State House, and the University of Pennsylvania. 35 1/5" x 29"
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.29 Miscellaneous Maps
1952-1963
1 volume, 3 maps
Includes: Map of Philadelphia showing boundaries of police districts and locations of police & fire stations. Scale 1" = 3000' 6 May 1952.; Water Main Map, 1960, which covers the area from Broad Street to 33rd Street, Clearfield Street to Luzerne Street and part of lower Germantown and East Falls around the Queen Lane Reservoir. Shows location of water mains and their diameters. Drafted by the Vernon Graphics Co., Inc. of Pennsylvania. July 1960. blueprint.; Ward Map of the City of Philadelphia, Prepared by the City Plans Division, revised 12/7/1936, 7/14/1942, 5/3/1943, 6/25/1957. Shows the various ward boundaries of the city as of the latter date; Philadelphia Street Map, 1963, 1 vol., index, scale 1" = 1600 ft.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.30 Zoning and Use Permit Application Register
October 1933 - January 1952
4 volumes
Includes date, application number, location (address) of property for which a permit is requested, nature of application, zoning map number, zoning district designation, zoning or use permit number, if any; indication if a permit is not required or if a zoning or use permit was refused, date of referral or appeal to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, calendar number and indication of Board's approval or refusal. The volume for 1933-1937 also includes the following information: ward, width of lot of building front; voucher number; type of building indicated by a numerical code; and remarks. Some pages of the volume for 1933-1937 are missing.
For similar records 1952, see Record Series 77.10
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.31 Register of Zoning Map Changes
November 1933 - January 1952
1 volume
Registers amendments to the ordinance of August 10, 1933, known as the "Philadelphia Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Maps". Included are the zoning map number, ordinance file number, year of the ordinance, location, map sub number, resolution number and date, advertising date, hearing date, Zoning Board of Adjustment report (favorable or negative), date of approval of ordinance, date ordinance became effective, and remarks.
For similar records 1952-1954, see Record Series 77.11
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.32 Zoning Maps
1951
1 volume, index
Maps prepared by the Bureau of Engineering, Surveys & Zoning in 1931 for Philadelphia Zoning Commission. Zoning data revised to 10 August 1951. Volume published by Philadelphia Real Estate Board. Maps show zoning classifications for entire city, depicting areas of residential, commercial, industrial, park, shopping center, etc., use.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
90.33 Atlases of Foreign Cities
1889, 1902-1903
3 volumes, indexed
Includes an atlas of the Public Works of Paris, 1789-1889, an atlas showing the growth of London, 1902, and an atlas of Berlin, 1903.
Location: City Archives, 3101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links to related information...
PhILS Home
-->City Agencies
---->Surveyors, Board of [90]
------>Record Series Information Sheet. (Graphical version of this page)

Send your comments to phils@phila.gov
Last updated on November 9, 2000