I'd appreciate suggestions from anyone who has traced the history of houses, multi-family residences, and commercial buildings, on how to find more information about buildings which no longer exist.
One of the pieces of information I use when searching for my focus people and their cluster or FAN (friends/associates/neighbors) is the street address, both of their residences and of their places of employment. In addition to recording any street address in my person-centric records like the census, BMD records, draft registrations, etc., I use City Directories and other resources associated with that place to see who else is living nearby and to trace who else might be employed at the same company.
If property tax records are online, I look at the city's record card showing what buildings are on the property, which can include notes about building style, an estimate of when the building was constructed, and photos of the buildings. Some towns have tax maps which can be downloaded. I also check the addresses against the USPS Zip Code finder, which will report back if the historical address is not currently deliverable.
Many of the families I am studying in the period from 1880 - 1930 lived in company housing which has since been torn down. If I were in the town itself, I could go to the local public library, consult the historical society, or the local genealogical society. And I would guess that there is a department in the city itself which would have issued permits for the building demolition, though the records may not be accessible, or still extant for buildings that vanished 100 years ago.
Q1: What might be a good way for a long-distance researcher to find out more about these buildings? I'd like to find as much as I can on my own before I ask locals to do things on my behalf.
Q2: What other resources might there be for the local researcher?