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Maps at MNHS: Atlases & Plats

A guide to accessing maps and other geospatial resources at MNHS.

About Platbooks & County Atlases

County atlases, which are based off of Public Land Survey Lines, play an integral role in Minnesota history.

Lavishly illustrated county and city atlases were popular items for Minnesota cartographic publishing houses during the late 19th and early 20th century.  They included colorful hand drawn maps and promoted local communities and businesses by including advertisements, photographs of notable residents and buildings, and property owner indexes.  

Post WWI, atlases became much plainer and began to play a huge role in real estate business by providing important information for potential land purchasers.  

County platbooks include maps of individual townships. 

Researching Plats & Atlases

Online Resources:

  • Minnesota atlases and plats at the Borchert Map Library (all dates, some digitized, searchable by county).
  • An alphabetical list of all townships in Minnesota and which county they are located in.

Print Resources:

  • For information on finding these materials, please see the Search for Maps tab.

Atlas & Plat Links

MNHS Reference Staff

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Gale Family Library
Minnesota Historical Society Library

Located on the Second Floor of the Minnesota History Center
345 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

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