The Boston Fire of 1872

By | Nov 9, 2007

1)   Over the course of history many cities have experience a ‘Great Fire’ the destroyed a big portion of the city.  On the 9th of November in 1872, the City of Boston experience a ‘Great Fire’.

2)   The fire which started in a warehouse in the commercial district began a little after 7 in the evening and burnt the entire night when it was finally contained 12 hours after it began.

3)  The fire consumed 65 acres of Boston’s downtown, destroying 776 building, much of the financial district was in these buildings.  The exact lost of life is unknown, but at least 30 persons are known to have died as a result of the fire.

4)  An article from the Boston Morning Journal written a year after the fire said: “Full twenty-four hours it raged before the end could be seen. About 650 buildings were destroyed. Of those two were churches belonging to the Episcopal denomination, sixty-eight were dwelling and logging houses, and the remainder were devoted solely to business.  Nearly a thousand business firms were numbered among the sufferers. The estimate of the value of the buildings destroyed was places at thirteen millions and a half and the loss of merchandise at sixty millions, a total of about one-tenth of the valuation of the city.”

5)  The people of Boston  rose to the challenge and by the end of 1873 about 450 new buildings had been erected with 1/3 of the stores occupied and indications that others will re-occupy the area during 1874.

6)   John Damrell was Boston’s Fire Chief during the fire and he is given much of the credit for stopping the fires.  However it is what he did later to assist in the lobbying for an adoption of a unified national building code, for which he is better known.


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