Using City Directories For Research
City directories are often the only cost-effective way to identify past occupants of buildings – including occupants that may have created environmental issues. This research can also help historians and other researchers understand how the mix of commercial and residential properties has changed in cities and neighborhoods. HIG has a huge in-house collection of scanned city directories, crisscross directories, digital phone books and other similar publications to supplement your research.
What you can expect:
- Experienced researchers that track down addresses and street names that have changed over time.
- Data for a specific property and surrounding properties or an entire neighborhood.
- Data provided in approximate five year intervals.
- City Directory Pages (PDF) and abstracts (PDF or spreadsheet) that can be easily inserted into your report or uploaded to report writing platforms.
- Ability to upgrade to customized abstracts that include all tenant listings in large multi-tenant buildings.
To deliver high quality city directory research, we pay attention to the way that street names and addresses have changed over time. If you’re not looking for former street names and addresses, it can be easy to miss a building or business that may have been on your site years ago. For example, when conducting environmental risk reviews prior to a property purchase, not identifying past property occupants like a dry cleaner or filling station can leave you open to unnecessary risk. We look for these changes so we can give you the most accurate information.
City Directory Pages, Abstract or Combo (CD Pages/Abstract, PDF): Digital copies of original city directory pages are provided with your subject property area highlighted on the page. A separate PDF for each street researched is provided; organized by year. When certain city directories are not available for reproduction, we abstract the data and each street researched has its own file, organized by year, then by address.
City Directory All Abstract (CD Abstract, PDF): Abstracted city directory data; each street researched has its own file, organized by year, then by address.
City Directory Sheets (CD Sheets, Excel): Abstracted city directory data presented in Excel spreadsheet format. Each street researched has its own file, organized by year, then by address.
City Directory Area Search (CD Area Search 330’ radius and CD Area Search 660’ radius, Excel & PDF): City directory data for all streets with listings within 330 feet or 660 feet from your Subject Property boundary. A map of the search area is included on the first tab and each street researched has its own tab organized by year, then by address. Provided in Excel spreadsheet format and as a PDF.
Business Directory Area Search (BD Area Search, Excel & PDF): The BD Area Search includes listings dating back to approximately the late 1990s; it is provided when traditional city directories are not available for your Subject Property area. The BD Area Search includes business listings for all adjoining properties. A map of the search area is included on the first tab and each street researched has its own tab which is organized by year, then by address. Provided in Excel spreadsheet format and as a PDF.