This dataset displays the mapped polygons and area descriptions from the Home Owners' Loan Corporation for Altoona, Pennsylvania.
The dataset was created by digitizing a scanned, georeferenced map and adding the text descriptions of the areas as attributes. Both the scanned map and text files can be found as related items on this page labeled "Is derived from."
The dataset is available with full text of the area descriptions as a GeoJSON. The dataset can also be downloaded as a Shapefile, but this format has field length restrictions and will not contain all of the text.
During the 1930s and early 1940s, HOLC staff members, using data and evaluations organized by local real estate professionals—lenders, developers, and real estate appraisers—in each city, assigned grades to residential neighborhoods that reflected their "mortgage security" that would then be visualized on color-coded maps. Neighborhoods receiving the highest grade of "A"—colored green on the maps—were deemed minimal risks for banks and other mortgage lenders when they were determining who should received loans and which areas in the city were safe investments. Those receiving the lowest grade of "D," colored red, were considered "hazardous."
Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, and Nathan Connolly
University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab, Virginia Tech, and University of Maryland Digital Curation Innovation Center