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PRICE FIFTY CENTS. 




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AND ITS 



DESTRUCTION 



A HISTORY OF THE 



GREAT CONFLAGRATION 



A Full and Graphic account of its Destruction by Fire 
on the 9th and 10th of November, 1872. 



ILLUSTRATED 



PUBLISHED BY 

"W^IZLT^IA-lUl FJ-.ITSTX Sc CO., 

Philadelphia, Pa., Cincinnati, Ohio, Springfield, Mass., 

and Atlanta, Ga. 

1872. 



WM. FLINT & CO., 

No. 26 South Seventh Street, 

PHILADELPHIA. 

PUBLISHERS OP 

POPULAR STANDARD 

|ttb)sription |ookf and |api?iap 

' AGENTS WANTED 

For the following Works, which are sold only by Subscription, viz. : 

Pt@t®£l&l H@»© ©til' 



8> 

CONTAINING A 

And over Three Hundred elegant Illustrations. The Cheapest and 
Greatest Literary Production of the Nineteenth Century. 
IN BOTH ENGLISH AND GERMAN, 

FLINT'S NEW ILLUSTRATED FAMILY BIBLE. 

CHICAGO-its PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE. 
D'AUBIGNE'S History of the Reformation, 

Complete in one volume of over 1000 pages. 

New Physiognomy. Our Family Physician. 

Light of the World. Commentary on Luke. 

Private Memoirs of Washington. Life of Martin Luther. 

Lights and Shadows of the Great Rebellion. 

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Also, Two Beautiful Chromo Lithographs, Chicago as it 

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FOR FULL PARTICULARS, WITH TERMS TO AGENTS, ADDRESS AS ABOVE. 



n ail^- 



HISTORT 



OF TnE 



GREAT CONFLAGRATION; 



OR, 



BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 



EMBRACING 



A BRIEF HISTORY OF ITS EARLY SETTLEMENT 
AND PROGRESS TO DATE: 



TOGETHER WITH 



A FULL AND GRAPHIC ACCOUNT OF ITS DESTRUCTION BY FIRE, 



Oth and 10th of November, 1872. 

J 7 



] 



V 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PUBLISHED BY 

WILLIAM FLINT & CO., 

PHILADELPHIA, PA.; CINCINNATI, OHIO; SPRINGFIELD, MASS.; 
AND ATLANTA, GEORGIA. 

18T2. 



Ft3 

.5 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by 

WILLIAM FLINT, 
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 



PREFACE. 

♦ 

The aim of this work is to give a connected and 
concise history of the great fire in Boston on the 9th 
and 10th days of November, 1872, by which, to use a 
vigorous expression, the very vitals of the city were 
consumed. This great disaster has no parallel in 
modern history, save in the single instance of the 
destruction of Chicago. So rapid a spread of the fiery 
element, so immense a destruction of property, such 
universal and wide-spread suffering, is rare, indeed, 
and for this, let us be thankful. In this work, 
we take up- the whole subject, and set it forth in 
graphic details, presenting an account of the origin of 
the fire, its spread, and final arrest, a careful resume 
of the losses, and of the effect upon the business com- 
munity, the incidents accompanying the calamity, and 
such other. facts as will interest and inform the general 
render. Nothing of value has been omitted from its 

pages. 

(iii) 



CONTENTS. 



Boston. Its Early Settlement and Progress. 

A History of the Famous City 19 

Its Early Character 21 

Down to the Revolutionary Period 22 

Troublous Times 23 

The Destruction of Tea 24 

In the War 24 

In 1812, and during the Rebellion 25 

Its Commercial Importance .20 

Growth 28 

The Qreat Fire. Its Origin and Progress. 

A Clear and Connected Narrative 31 

The Flames leaping from house to house . . . .32 

Behind the Barricades 33 

A New Terror 34 

More Business Blocks Invaded 37 

Winthrop Square Invaded 38 

Alarm at the Hotels 40 

Blowing up the Buildings 40 

The Police and the Thieves 42 

The Crowds 43 

Saving Goods 43 

Meeting of Citizens 45 

Irresistible March of the Flames 45 

The Fire checked in the South 46 

Northward . . . 47 

A Noble Work 48 

Old South Church • • -49 

Towards State Street 50 

The End 51 

Another Account ^ 

Merchant Princes and Laborers alike Beggared ... 52 

" Boston shall be Rebuilt " 55 

(5) 



6 



CONTENTS. 



" We must Have still more Help" 

Nothing but a Deluge from Heaven 

The Blowing up of Buildings 

Flames would Overleap the Vacancy 

Every One seemed Perfectly Frantic 

The Energetic but Exhausted Firemen 

Fifty Streams poured upon the Ancient 

Colors of the Rainbow . 

Congress Block Enwrapped . 

The Sub-Treasury of the United States 

"Bad! Bad!! Bad!!!" . 

An Account by an Eye Witness . 

The Burning Building 

The Gale 

The Streets . 

The Explosions 

Suffering or Destitution 



Tabe 



nacl 



. 56 
. 57 
. 57 
. 58 
._59 
. 59 
. 60 
. 61 
. 61 
. 63 
. 63 
. 64 
. 64 
. 65 
. 66 
. 66 
. 67 



Scenes and Incidents. 

The Crowds upon the Streets. Terror of the People . . 68 

The Engines 69 

A Panic 70 

Ludicrous Incidents . 70 

Incidents of the Fire 74 

Heart Rending Scenes 70 

Boston Common 77 

A Molten Network 77 

Terror of the Women 78 

Among the Poorer Classes 79 

A Wild, Wild Night . . ' 80 

Old Buildings Destroyed ........ 81 

A Cheerless Sabbath Morning 83 

How the Helpers were Received 84 

After the Worst was over 84 

The Gallant Firemen 85 

Boston by Candle-light 87 

Viewing the Flames on Saturday night . . . .87 

Hard Work for the Newspaper Men 96 

The District Burned — Where the Fire Originated — Interest- 
ing Historical Reminiscences — The great Business Houses 
and Institutions Destroyed . . . . . . .97 

Pearl Street . ". .99 

Boston stands first .- .99 



CONTENTS. 7 

Jordan, Marsh & Co.'s Store 10") 

Macullar, Williams & Parker 101 

Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association . . . 101 
The 4k Transcript" 103 

The Heavy Losers. 

Alphabetical List of the Losers by the Fire, with the amounts 
in many cases 103 

The Insurance. 

The Losses by the Great Companies and their Effect upon 

the Business 113 

Philadelphia Companies 116 

Suspensions 116 

On General Business 117 

A Boston Voice 118 

All the Old Boot and Shoe Houses Destroyed . . . 119 



Among the Cinders. 

The Feeling among the Sufferers 

Unprotected Property 

Opening the Safes . 

Temporary Occupancy of Fort Hill 

Recovered from Thieves 

The Temporary Post Office . 

Removing the Ruins 

A Safe with $150,000 in it intact 

What is said of Mansard 'Roofs 

The Relief Movement . 

Aid from Abroad to be Accepted 



The Startling News. 

How it was received throughout the Country 

In New York . 

In Philadelphia 

In Washington 

In Chicago 

In Indianapolis 

In Detroit 

In Hartford 

In Springfield, Massachusetts 



121 
121 
122 
122 
123 
123 
124 
124 
127 
129 
130 



133 
132 
134 
137 
133 
139 
140 
141 
141 




DIAGRAM OF THE BUB 




^)D DISTRICT OF BOSTON. 



> 



BOSTON. 

ITS EARLY- SETTLEMENT AND PROGRESS. 



A History of the Famous City. 

Of all American cities, Boston has long been the 
most universally admired one. To the cosmopolitan 
features of New York, it adds the staid and conserva- 
tive traits of Philadelphia, overcasting both with a 
layer of intellectual culture, and aesthetic refinement. 
The courage and enterprise of Chicago, the venture- 
someness of New York and the whole American spirit 
are combined in its commercial pursuits, savored with 
a probity that has made the honor of its merchants 
proverbial. The intellectual centre of the nation, its 
halls answering to the groves of Athens, where Soc- 
rates taught philosophy, and whence came those divine 
works of the ancient Greeks — its hold upon the affec- 
tions of our people is peculiar. We admire it for 
being what we are not, for the possession of those 
qualities denied us. We can realize from these facts, 
the wide spread consternation with which the Ameri- 
can people awoke on the beautiful Sabbath morning 
of November 10th, 1872, to hear that one-third of this 

famous old city was in ashes ; that its great commer- 

2 (19) 



20 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

cial palaces were crumbling to dust, its historic treas- 
ures being swept away and the old land marks of early 
American patroitism effaced. It was the oldest of 
American cities, and perhaps the richest of them all 
in historic recollections; the proudest and in many 
respects the most cultured and intellectual ; the birth- 
place of Franklin, John Adams, Hancock and Warren; 
the scene of the first battle between the patriots and 
the British soldiery; the home of Webster, Everett, 
Sumner and Emerson, and the other great lights that 
illume the nation's past or present. 

Fortunately, however, later news modified the first 
wild reports, and relieved the national suspense. 
The first was limited, and naught but the business 
portion of the city was consumed. This occasion fur- 
nishes us an opportunity for a brief reference to the 
history of the New England metropolis. Although in 
the race for supremacy, it has been surpassed by other 
cities, its growth has still been remarkable. Its exis- 
tence too has not been so checkered as that of some 
others; but it has had, nevertheless, an eventful experi- 
ence which, culminating in the great conflagration, 
(the subject of the work) has almost the charm of a 
romance. The first settlement on the present site of 
Boston was made in 1630 by a number of the emi- 
grants wandering southward from Salem, their landing 
place. The Indians called the place Shawmut; the 
first white men, from its geographical conformity, Tri- 
mountain. The aboriginal name and the white men's 
title were both discarded, and Boston fixed upon, on 
the 6th of September, 1630, in honor of the English 



ITS EARLY CHARACTER. 21 

birthplace of one of the inhabitants of the colony, and 
of the old home of many of them. The first settler 
was a Mr. William Blackstone, who sold his rights to 
the new comers, and withdrew to Rhode Island. The 
town soon became the centre and metropolis of Massa- 
chusetts, and, ther fore, of all New England. It grew 
rapidly, and prospered. Towns sprung up all around 
it, and in 1630 we read of a muster of militia on the 
Common, in which a thousand able-bodied armed men 
took part. In 1674 there were fifteen hundred fami- 
lies in the town, and one hundred and twenty thou- 
sand white inhabitants in New England. 

Its Early Character. 

A view* of the quaint little city in the latter part 
of the seventeenth century, is afforded in a book pub- 
lished in London in 1699, descriptive of a visit to the 
New World. The writer says, " that kissing a woman 
in public, though offered as a courteous salutation, 
was visited with the heavy punishment of whipping 
for both the offenders." There were even then " stately 
edifices, some of which have cost the owners two or 
three thousand pounds sterling," from which fact the 
author thinks " that a fool and his money is soon 
parted ; and set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride 
to the devil, for the fathers of these men were tinkers 
and peddlers." Mr. Daniel Neal, who wrote a book a 
few years later, found M the conversation in this town 
as polite as in most of the cities and towns in England," 
and he describes the houses, furniture, tables and dress 



22 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

as being quite as splendid and showy as those of the 
most considerable tradesmen in London. These re- 
marks — the one rather ill-natured, and the other, per- 
haps, too flattering — show the bent of New England 
character even at that early date, and th° most ordi- 
nary of minds can, from them, logically trace the 
growth of the present Athens. 

Down to the Revolutionary Period, 

Our young metropolis steadily extended its limits and 
commerce. In 1700, there were forests of masts in its 
harbor, and in 1719, twenty-four thousand tons of ship- 
ping w ? ere cleared from the port. At this time it was 
the wealthiest and most populous city upon the conti- 
nent. It had its moral and intellectual growth also. 
The early Puritans were God-fearing people, and 
churches and schools were reared contemporaneously 
with, their dwelling houses. In 1704, the first news- 
paper published in the colonies, appeared here under 
the name of the Boston News Letter, and two years 
later occurred the birth of Benjamin Franklin, the first 
great American journalist, and of the great men whose 
names shed lustre upon the rugged pages of our coun- 
try's early history. The town continued to grow, and 
its people to increase. Harvard College was founded, 
more newspapers were printed, intelligence spread 
abroad, and independence and patriotism were formed. 



TROUBLOUS TIMES. 23 



Troublous Times. 



This hurried review brings us down to 1770, about 
which time began that series of incidents that resulted 
in the War of Independence and these United States 
No part of our history is more interesting, none so 
useful to posterity or in shaping the sentiments of the 
generations that have sprung from the loins of the 
men who fought the first battle of freedom on this 
continent. Boston was now a great town, the centre 
of a wealthy and prosperous State. Its people were 
citizens of no mean city, and proud of the fact. For 
long years before the final acts of aggression of the 
mother country aroused their indignation to the point 
of open resistance, they had resented with force and 
feeling, the constant interference in their home affairs. 

In 1747 the city w^as the scene of a great riot, 
caused by an outrage of certain British naval officers 
in impressing the freemen into the service of his 
Majesty. The Stamp Act followed, and then March* 
1170, came the Boston Massacre, growing out of the 
hostility between the citizens and the soldiery. The 
funeral of the victims brought together a vast con- 
course from all parts of New England, and gave the 
press, earnest for the cause of the people, a new text 
upon which to base their attacks upon the home gov- 
ernment and appeals to the people. The next out* 
burst of patriotism was 



24 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

The Destruction of Tea 

in the harbor. The ships having " the detested tea" 
on board arrived the last of November and the first of 
December, 1773. Having kept watch over the ships 
to prevent the landing of any of the tea until the six- 
teenth of December, and having failed to compel the 
consignees to send the cargoes back to England, the 
people were holding a meeting on the subject on the 
afternoon of the 16th, when a formal refusal by the 
governor of a permit for the vessels to pass the castle 
without a regular custom-house clearance was received. 
The meeting broke up, and the whole assembly fol- 
lowed a party of thirty persons disguised as Indians 
to Griffin's (now Liverpool) wharf, where the chests 
were broken open, and their contents emptied into the 
dock. The secret of the participators in this affair 
has been well kept, and it is doubtful if any additional 
light will ever be thrown upon it. 

In the War 

Boston played a prominent part, and suffered in pro- 
portion. General Washington topk command of the 
American army July 2d, 1775, in Cambridge, but did 
not attack Boston for many months. During the 
winter its hardships were very great. On the 4th of 
March, 1776, the Americans took possession of the 
Dorchester Heights, which commanded the harbor, 
and General Howe's position becoming perilous, he 
evacuated the town on the 17th of December. No 



DURING THE REBELLION. 25 

attempt was made to recapture the town during the 
war, and it emerged from it the first town in the 
country ih point of wealth, if not of population. It 
immediately entered upon a course of prosperity which 
has continued with few interruptions down to the 
present time. 

In 1812, and Luring the Rebellion. 

The most serious interruption to its general pros- 
perity was the war of 1812, Avhich, like nearly all New 
England, it opposed. Massachusetts then owned 
nearly one-third of our commercial marine, and the 
Embargo Act of 1807, out of which the war grew, was 
a serious blow to her interests. Boston, however, 
liberally responded to the call for troops, and played 
an active part in the struggle. Her harbor was the 
scene of the celebrated battle between the Chesapeake 
and the Shannon. 

Again, during the rebellion, Boston, having been 
one of the foremost communities in opposition to sla- 
very, was a leader on the side of the Union in this 
war, in which she only took part by furnishing men 
and means to carry it on at a distance, and in support- 
in^ it by the cheering and patriotic words of those 
who remained at home. Her history is that of Mas- 
sachusetts. During the four years of conflict, the city 
and State responded promptly to every call of every 
nature from the General Government, and furnished 
troops for every department of the army, and money 
in abundance to carry on the war and to relieve suf- 
fering in the field. Boston alone sent into the army 



26 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

and navy no less than twenty- six thousand one 
hundred and nineteen men, of whom six hundred 
and eighty-five were commissioned officers. Boston 
retained its town government until 1822. The sub- 
ject of changing to the forms of an incorporated city 
was much discussed as early as 1781, but a vote of 
the town in favor of the change was not carried 
until January, 1822, when the citizens declared, by a 
majority of about six thousand five hundred out of 
about fifteen thousand votes, their preference for a 
city government. The Legislature passed an act in- 
corporating the city in February of the same year, and 
on the 4th of March the charter was formally accepted. 
The city government consisting of a Mayor, Mr. John 
Phillips as chief executive officer, and a City Council 
composed of boards of eight alderman and forty-eight 
common councilmen, was organized on May 1st 

Its Commercial Importance. 

During the last half century the commercial impor- 
tance of Boston has experienced a reasonably steady 
and constant development. The industries of New 
England have, in that time grown to immense propor- 
tions, and Boston is the natural market and distribut- 
ing point for the most of them. The increase of popu- 
lation, and the still more rapid aggregation of wealth, 
tell the story far more effectively than words can do 
it. In 1790 the population of the town was but 
eighteen thousand and thirty-three. The combined 
population of the three towns of Boston, Roxbury, 



COMMERCIAL IMPORTANCE. 27 

and Dorchester at intervals of ten years, is given in 
the following table; 

Yo; "'- Population. 

1800 30,049 

1810 40,386 

1820 51,117 

1830 70,713 

1840 ....... 107,347 

1850 163,214 

I860 212,746 

1870 . . . , , . . 250,526 



The valuation of real and personal- property in the 
last forty years shows a still more marvellous increase. 
The official returns at intervals of five years show : 

Fear. Valuation. 

1835 $79,302,600 

1840 . . , . . 94,531,600 

1845 "..... 135,948,700 

1850 . . • 180,000,500 

1855 241,932,200 

1860 278,861,000 

1865 371,892,775 

1870 . 584,089,400 

In 1 840 4he average amount of property owned by 
each inhabitant of Boston, was less than $900, but in 
1870 it had increased to an average of more than 
$2,300, and the value of all the property in Boston is 
more than seven times as great as it was thirty-five 
years ago. 



28 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Growth. 

The growth of Boston has, notwithstanding these 
very creditable figures, been seriously retarded by the 
lack of room for expansion. Until the era of railroads 
it was impracticable for gentlemen doing business in 
Boston, to live far from its corporate limits. Accord- 
ingly it was necessary to " make land " by filling the 
flats as soon as the dimensions of the peninsula began 
to be too contracted for the population, and business 
gathered upon it. Some very old maps show how 
early this enlargement was commenced; and hardly 
any two of these ancient charts agree. 

During the present century very great progress has 
been made. All the old ponds, coves, and creeks have 
been filled in, and on the south and southwest the 
connection with the mainland has been so widened 
that it is now as broad as the broadest part of the 
original peninsula, and the work is not yet finished. 
In other respects the improvements have been im- 
mense. All the hills have been cut down, and one of 
them has been entirely removed. The streets which 
were formerly so narrow and crooked as to give point 
to the joke that they were laid out npo» the paths 
made by the cows in going to pasture have been 
widened, straightened, and graded. Whole districts 
covered with buildings of brick and stone have been 
raised, with the structures upon them, many feet. The 
city has extended its authority over the island known 
as Noddle's Island, now East Boston, which was almost 
uninhabited and unimproved until its purchase on 



GROWTH OF BOSTON. 29 

speculation in 1 830 ; over South Boston, once Dor 
Chester Neck, annexed to Boston in 18' '4 : and finally 
by legislative acts and the consent of the citizens, over 
the ancient municipalities of lloxbury and Dorchester. 
The original limits of Boston comprised but six hun- 
dred and ninety acres. By filling in flats eight hundred 
and eighty acres have been added. By the absorption 
of South and East Boston, and by filling the flats sur- 
rounding these districts, seventeen hundred acres more 
were acquired, and lloxbury contributed twenty-one 
hundred acres and Dorchester forty-eight hundred. 
The entire present area of the city is, therefore, ten 
thousand one hundred and seventy acres — nearly 
fifteen times as great as the original area. Meanwhile 
the numerous railroads radiating from Boston and 
reaching to almost every village within thirty miles, 
have rendered it possible for business men to make 
their homes far away from their counting-rooms. By 
tnis means scores of suburban towns, unequalled in 
extent and beauty by those surrounding any other 
great city of the country have been built up, and the 
value of property in all the eastern part of Massachu- 
setts has been very largely enhanced. These towns 
are most intimately connected with Boston in business 
and social relations, and, in a sense, form a part of the 
city. 



THE GREAT FIRE. 

ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS 



A Clear and Connected Narrative. 

On Saturday evening, November 9th, 1872, about 
seven o'clock, a fire broke out in the large five story- 
granite building Nos. 87, 89 and 91 Summer street, 
Boston. The fire commenced with great fury. Before 
a mere handful of spectators had reached the spot, 
enormous volumes of smoke and flame were issuing 
from the rear of the structure. This was surmounted 
by the inevitable and dangerous Mansard roof, fatally 
overtopping all the surrounding buildings. Soon as the 
flames began to extend to the story under the roof, 
when there was not a solitary^ engine or hose carriage 
on the ground, the flames were bursting from the rear 
and lower stories of the building. In less than twenty 
minutes the entire broad front, extending, for one 
hundred feet along Kingston street, was covered with 
flame. The Summer street front was at once in the 
same condition. The intensity of the heat from the 
fire in Summer street was so great that the firemen 
were driven from the neighborhood. Then to com- 
plete the trouble sprang up a strong wind from the 

northwest. 

(31) 



32 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

The Flames leaping from house to house. 

The buildings in the vicinity were all of granite, 
four stories high, and each surmounted with a Man- 
sard roof, none of them being over five years old. 
The detached splinters flew readily as the air was 
warmed by the terrible heat, and soon flames began 
licking the Mansard roof on the opposite side far, 
above the reach of streams directed upon it from all 
quarters. Fire was constantly in the air, and one 
building after another caught on the roof, and flames 
skipped lightly along from one window sill to another, 
so that in less than thirty minutes every cheek was 
blanched as it became evident that the whole city in 
one direction was at the mercy of the flames, which 
were leaping gayly from roof to roof and from one 
building to another. The second building to succumb 
was directly opposite to that in which the fire first 
broke out, and was occupied by Mafin, Mullen & Elms, 
Harding Brothers & Co., Bowen, Moors & Co., George 
Licle, Carter. & Co., and Conant Brothers, all wholesale 
dealers in dry and fancy goods. This was at the cor- 
ner of Otis place. The heat now became infernal. 
The streets ran rivers of water, and * every moment 
was heard the sound of granite blocks exploding and 
falling in the streets, making them impassable. The 
firemen were driven from one station to another, and 
many engines were kept nobly at work, while hydrants 
were used by hand hose. The engineer could only 
hold his place while a stream of water was kept play- 
irg upon him. Blocks of granite weighing tons, were 



THE GREAT FIRE : ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 33 

split as if by powder, and hurled across wide streets, 
and planks went flying through the air as if they were 
feathers. 



Behind the Barricades' 

The firemen erected barricades and worked behind 
them, but they were burned almost as soon as erected. 
An hour had hardly elapsed before it was evident 
that Beebe's block, the finest business structure in the 
city, built of granite, five stories in height, with Man- 
sard roof over all, must go. Within thirty minutes 
the flames were coming out in fiery billows from every 
window, and up the stairway leading to A, T. Stew- 
art's rooms was a perfect column of flames. This 
building served but as fuel for the flames. Pieces of 
dry goods went whistling across the square, lodging 
on the window sills of the magnificent stores on Devon- 
shire street. Beebe's block stood a solid wall of 
granite, several minutes after the inside fell, but the 
heat warped it, and two million dollars soon lay a 
heap of stone, bricks and mortar. A hurricane now 
raged, and owing to the intense heat and perfect sleet 
of coals it drove everything before it. Every building 
w T as now heated as if in a furnace, and caught like 
tinder. Four story granite blocks seemed like 
shavings, and deafening explosions were constantly 
heard. 



3i BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

A JYeiv Terror 

was soon added to the Babel of confusion. Tenement 
houses at the upper end of Federal street were fast 
being licked up by the flames, and women crazed and 
fainting were rushing to and fro, carrying children, 
clocks and bedding in their hands. One ran scream- 
ing through High street with a stove funnel in her 
hands, while another was tugging a large chest which 
would have been a heavy weight for a strong man. 
Now and then a few pieces of goods might be saved 
by volunteers who ran in and spent five minutes, dur- 
ing which they could work, in bringing out perhaps 
a hundred pieces of cloth. One man, Marshal Cotter, 
got out $25,000 worth of kid gloves, and had them 
placed on the sidewalk in a damaged condition. He 
offered a hackman $500 in vain to take the goods to 
a place of safety. In less than an hour die had to flee 
for his life, and the flames were not again cheated of 
their prey. The fire was now in Federal street, and 
the wool houses were going like oil factories, they 
could not have been attacked at a more dangerous 
time, crammed from cellar to garret with goods. Hun- 
dreds of thousands of dollars' worth were on hand that 
might have been delivered to customers had it not 
been for the horse disease. In one store alone there 
were a hundred thousand dollars' worth of wool 
stored, which was awaiting delivery. - Minor, Beal & 
Hackett had their store packed full, having only put 
their winter stock in three hours before the fire envel- 
oped it all. March Brothers & Fierce had just put 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND FFOGRES3. 37 

tlreir winter goods in the cellar and sent their summer 
goods up stairs to be made up. The paper warehouses 
came next. With the end of Federal street went the 
majority of the large city dealers. It had been hoped 
that the fire could be stopped short at Franklin street, 
but the stores there were as vulnerable as any other. 
Freeman's National Bank went at ten o'clock, and an 
hour later the National Bank of North America was 
in as bad a condition. The only place where the 
limits of the fire were reached is on Summer street, 
where the fire began. It swept in a northeasterly 
direction from there. 

More Business Blocks Invaded. 

The fire, communicating from roof to roof, crept 

steadily up both sides of Summer street. From and 

opposite the Everett block, the following buildings 

were reached and destroyed in rapid succession: 

Brick swell-front, occupied by A. Folsom & Sons, 

floor cloths and oil cloths; George H. Butler, hair 

goods ; and Eugene Chapin, commission merchant. 

Granite block — Morse, Hammond & Co., hosiery and 

gloves; Stiles, Beale & Homer, wholesale clothing; 

S. Klous & Co., hats, caps, and furs ; Struckcr 

Brothers, hat and cap manufacturers ; Wyman & 

Arklay, imported goods and linens ; Ewing, Wise & 

Fuller, linens and white goods ; Kothwell, Luther, 

Potter & Co., clothing; Mitchell, Green & Stevens, 

clothing. At this time — about ten o'clock — the flames 

burst from the top of a building on Arch street, a 

dozen doors removed from Summer street. Almost 

3 



38 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

before the existence of the flames in this quarter was 
known, they had spread down through the building, 
and were bursting in a perfect torrent from all the 
windows in the front of the fancy goods store of 
Hawley, Folsom & Martin. The fire spread to each 
side, enveloping the stores of Thomas Kelly & Co. ; 
D. Mi Hodgdon, clothing ; March Brothers, Pierce & 
Co. ; Miner, Beales & Hackett, all of which were 
quickly blazing. At ten o'clock, the whole roof of 
the Everett block was a sheet of flame, sending high 
into the air a column of fire, smoke, and lurid sparks. 
Having thus gained perfect control of the Everett 
block, the fire stretched its arms across the narrow 
Arch street, and moved rapidly up towards Washing- 
ton street, taking in the establishments of George 
H. Law, Brett & Co., wholesale clothing; and 
Messenger & Co., dry goods; Edgerton & Gilman's 
dining rooms; Chaffee & Whitney, sewing silk; Lee, 
Tweedy & Co., dry goods ; Lewis Brown & Co., 
kid gloves ; Mareau & Co., commission merchants ; 
Seavey, Foster & Bowman, agents of the Canton Silk 
Mills ; Kettle & Jones, commission merchants ; Price, 
Tuck & Co., thread and trimmings ; Porter Brothers, 
commission merchants; Nicholas & Sons, imitation 
hair. 

Winthrop Square Invaded. 

At the opposite end of Summer street, near the 
junction of Bedford street, among the buildings 
destroyed were the following: Ileyer Brothers, import- 
ers of fancy goods; Gilbert Lovejoy & Co., woollens 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 39 

(No. 92); John Cotter, hosiery, gloves, &c. (No. 102). 
Winthrop square, the very centre of the great whole- 
sale trade of the city, embracing some of the most 
costly mercantile buildings ever erected in this country, 
and occupied by such great firms as James M. Bebee 
& Co., Stewart & Co., Anderson, Heath & Co., and 
foity or fifty others, was, before ten o'clock, one mass 
of ruins On Kingston street, No. 14, occupied by J. 
A. Hatch & Co., commission merchants ; the next was 
Nos. 16 and 18, occupied by Claik & Blodgett, com- 
mission merchants, and Mellen & Goodwin. The 
other buildings on Kingston street were dwelling 
houses, and were all destroyed. About eleven o'clock, 
the scene in Lincoln, Essex, South, Federal, and other 
streets in that immediate neighborhood, was one of the 
saddest sights of the night. Hundreds of men, 
women, and children were hurrying along, laden with 
every variety of household goods. Behind them the 
roaring flames, lapping up their houses before they 
could get half or a quarter of their goods into the 
street. The fire extended on both sides of Lincoln 
street. On Hussia wharf, all the buildings, mostly 
used by rag, paper, and junk merchants, were 
destroyed. There were no vessels lying at this wharf. 
At Bobbins' wharf, a schooner was destroyed, as were 
the aoal sheds, and a large quantity of lumber on the 
pier. The wharf of the Hartford and Erie Railroad 
Company was burned, and the passenger station of the 
corporation on Broad street, at the foot of Summer 
street, was destroyed. 



40 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Alarm at the Hotels. 

At two o'clock in the morning the fire had not made 
much headway on Kingston, Columbia and Lincoln 
streets, in the southerly direction, but had slowly 
burned along the ends of those streets, making progress 
however, over Broad street, to the water front. All 
through the South Cove district, where wooden build- 
ings are numberless, many steamers were in busy play 
and action to prevent the spread of the fire sideways, 
and so keep it out of a thickly populated portion of 
the city. The United States Hotel was the first and 
nearest public building in the sideways line, and being 
in evident peril, its boarders and occupants became 
apprehensive of their danger. Some little confusion 
and considerable excitement ensued among them, but 
not to the extent of preventing most of them from 
displaying much more than ordinary activity and great 
celerity of movement in removing their trunks, valises, 
carpet-sacks, valuables and persons to places more se- 
cure from visitation by the fire fiend. A walk to Sum- 
mer street revealed that the fire had then extended on 
the south side as far west as Hovcy's dry goods store, 
the upper portion of the building being on fire. The 
wind had moderated some, but the fire, nevertheless, 
appeared to be fast eating its way towards Washing- 
ton street. 

Blowing iij) the Buildings. 

By this time it had become evident to all, that in 
spite of the utmost exertion of the Fire Department, 
the flames were gaining. There was then no alterna- 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 41 

tive left save to blow up the streets closing to those 
already sheeted with flame. At two o'clock this was 
done. Chief Engineer Damrill, who had hesitated at 
adopting so costly a remedy, hesitated no longer. 
He established a cordon round the streets leading to 
Milk street, driving off the gazers with the police. 
Soon, the measured tramp of the United States marines 
was heard, as they marched up Washington street 
from their quarters in the Navy Yard, and they rein- 
forced the over-worked police. To this combined 
force was soon added a column of citizens under the 
leading of Mayor Gaston and Gen. William L. Burt, 
with Alderman Jenks and Col. Sheppard as subalterns. 
And now they took charge of all the streets leading to 
Milk, and about three o'clock, the Engineer's Depart- 
ment, under Damrill, aided by the marines, laid 
charges of powder in the cellars of the south side of 
that street. In a few minutes the roar of numerous 
explosions was heard, and, though women grew pale, 
and children began to cry at the terrible sounds, yet 
they were nevertheless dearly welcome, for they indi- 
cated that the position was fully realized, and that the 
conflagration was being fairly choked. Three more 
explosions were heard, and immediately a large block 
in Devonshire street was blown partially into the air. 
Then came the turn of Federal street, and quickly a 
great gap was made in that fine street. A wealthy 
merchant, who was working like a Hercules, was ob- 
served to be shedding tears silently, and some one 
reproached him for crying so much for his money. 
"It is not that," he said, with a sigh, "but I saw Paris 



42 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

after the raging of the Commune, and these ruins 
brought back that scene of blood and desolation to my 
mind. I was sorrowing to think that there should be 
such a sight in dear old Boston. Bat there is no crime 
here. This is misfortune." At four o'clock the re- 
mainder of Devonshire street was blown up. 

The Police and the Thieves, 

Despite the terror that prevailed there were present 
in the crowds many thieves, who began their nefarious 
operations. Thefts were numerous and were commit- 
ted with perfect impunity for a time, as it was abso- 
lutely impossible for the police to distinguish owners 
from thieves, all being loaded alike with portable 
property. Now and then a well-known face would 
be recognized by the detectives and the thief arrested. 
These were isolated cases, however, and the value of 
the plunder secured by this depredatory class must 
have been enormous. 

The Crowds. 

Men and women from every part of the city came 
from their homes to see the fire, but before they 
reached the vicinity, the confusion that existed in all 
of the lending streets, gave them an impression of 
terror few will ever forget. It was, indeed, a startling 
scene for those who arrived on the ground after mid- 
night, fur the new-corners had no preparation, and 
were utterly bewildered by the confused noises and 
distraction that existed among those who, having 



THE GREAT FIRE : ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 43 

large interests at stake, had been present at the fire 
from an early hour. 

The scene at the corner of Milk and Devonshire 
streets, down toward Federal and up in the direction 
of Washington street, was a terrible one. Nobody 
could stand within three blocks of the burning masses, 
so the fire had full possession of the buildings within 
its grasp. As each edifice took fire from its neighbor, 
the flames seemed to devour the contents in a simile 
moment, and so the torrent of flame grew in strength 
and power with terrible velocity. 

Saving Goods. 

The merchants, meanwhile, had fully realized the 
situation, and those who had goods in stores contigu- 
ous to the flames had begun to remove them as early 
as two o'clock. Pearl street was crowded with teams 
laden with the most costly merchandise, thrown hur- 
riedly in and without any covering. It was a scene of 
terrible confusion. Merchants, trying to be calm in 
the midst of the turmoil, were giving orders with ap- 
parent sang fr oid, though with faces tortured with an 
anxietv "which the lurid light of the conflagration 
brought out with cruel force. Teamsters were swear- 
ing at the terrified horses, only partially under con- 
trol, and the whole quarter was full of an activity that, 
at the first glance, seemed aimless. But there was an 
order and discipline under the confused surface, and 
soon the vacant lots in the Fort Hill district began 
to be dotted with costly articles, piled up in great 



44 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

glittering heaps, guarded by the rnilitia and by volun- 
teer citizens. Of course, the small boys were equal 
to the occasion and pilfered when they couM, refusing, 
with impudence, liberal offers of payment if they would 
make themselves useful. 

The ladies, in many cases, were bewildered by the 
noise and bustle around them rather than by cowardly 
fear, or even by natural timidity, and did some things 
that provoked a laughter in spite of the awful charac- 
ter of the situation. One went about with a package 
of lace in one hand and a Lisle-thread stocking in the 
other, entreating the workers to help her save her 
property, which she seemed powerless to designate. 
Another threw out large superb mirrors from the 
third story, and carefully lowered a china jug by a 
rope. Some shivered in silence on the stone steps, 
liu&'jni]": their babies to their breasts, and one answered 
to a gentleman, who wanted to save her property, "Let 
it burn, sir; I've saved my baby, and my husband is all 
right in New York." 

Much property, no doubt, was saved, but there were 
districts where the onset of the flames was so exceed- 
ingly fierce that all efforts to rescue goods were b?aten 
back by the fervent heat, and the unfortunate owners 
were compelled to see their possessions vanish in flames 
before their eyes. Notably this was the case in Oliver 
street and around about the wharves and the ware- 
houses in the vicinity, down to beyond the Hartford 
and Erie bridge. Here all was burued without ex- 
ception. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 45 

Meeting of Citizens. 

Shortly after two o'clock ,a meeting of citizens was 
held in the Mayor's parlor in the City Hall. His 
Honor Mayor Gaston being present, add Chief Engi- 
neer Hamuli occupying the informal presidency. On 
motion of General Wm. L. Burt, a detail of citizens 
was authorized to take charge of all the streets lead- 
ing directly to the fire, and have exclusive control of 
them, with the assistance of the police, with authority 
to take any action which they might see fit in the 
emergency. The detail consisted of General Burt, 
Alderman JVnks, CoL Shepard, and other well-known 
citizens, and each one had control of intersecting 
streets, with full liberty to use powder in the stoppage 
of the flames, in case it should be considered expedient, 
and with the consent of the Chief Engineer of the 
Fire Department. It was also authorized that in case 
of necessity the military should be called out. 

Irresistible *J\larch of the Flames. 

By four o'clock the fire had extended from Wash- 
ington street on the west, to the wharves on the east, 
and from Milk street on the north, to the Hartford 
and Erie Railroad Bridge on the south. The area of 
burned buildings being roughly reckoned at the time, 
at two hundred acres. The estimate of a prominent 
real estate man was, that the buildings would average 
twelve dollars per foot for this area, and, therefore, we 
have accordingly a total loss in buildings alone of 
$100,000,000. So fierce was the march of the flames, 



46 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

and so irresistible, that the merchants on Olive street, 
when first made aware of their danger, tried to remove 
their goods, but were unable to do so on account of 
the intense heat. At twelve minutes to five A. M., the 
progress of the fire southward was checked, and also 
in a great measure towards the southeast, the extreme 
limit of devastation in that direction being the Hart- 
ford and Erie Ilailroad depot, extending, however, out 
on the road and burning the bridge. Then it runs 
along Broad street to India, taking all the interme- 
diate wharves and destroying a few vessels. The fire 
worked around the new post office building and 
reached the northerly side of Water street. The large 
buildings on the corner of Congress and Water streets 
were engulfed in the flames and destroyed. Engines 
No. 1 and No. 4, of Providence, reached the scene of 
the fire about five A. M., and there were numerous hand- 
engines present from various towns in Massachusetts. 
Lynn sent two steamers, Nos. 1 and 2, and a hose- 
carriage. 



Trie Fire Checked in the South'. 

In the early hours of the morning the plundering 
by thieves became general, and firms who had re- 
moved their stock to places of supposed security out 
of doors, were victims of those predatory rascals. 
Arrests by the police became so numerous that it 
was found impossible to accommodate all the prison- 
ers, and they were therefore discharged from custody 
after making restitution of the stolen property. On 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 47 

Washington street, the fire was checked by five 
o'clock A. M. in the southerly direction. It had not 
reached beyond Summer street The buildings on 
the southerly side of the latter street remained stand- 
ing, and most of them untouched by the flames, with 
the exception of the three nearest Chauncey street. 
These were burned out, though the walls remained 
standing, and 'there was no further danger in this di- 
rection. The buildings of the American Watch Com- 
pany, on the northeasterly corner of Washington and 
Summer streets, were completely gutted, but the walls 
remain. North of this on Washington street, the 
same side, all were destroyed as far as the Transcript 
building, though portions of the walls of some of the 
buildings were left. Both Washington and Summer 
streets were filled with bricks, mortar and huge stones 
to the depth of several feet. A portion of the front 
of the Trinity church is standing alone to mark the 
location of the late beautiful edifice. 



Northward, 

Before five o'clock the fire found its way across 
Water street, and caught upon the window-casings 
and the roof finish of Simons' block, in which was the 
Boston Car Spring Company's office and the Hide and 
Leather Bank, and before the hour was passed, the 
whole building was enwrapped. At a quarter to six 
the building on the opposite corner of Congress street, 
where was the Shawmut Bank and W. E. Lawrence 
& Co.'s store, caught, and in ten minutes all hopes of 



48 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

saving it was gone. Northward towards the post office 
and State street swept the flames, and all hopes of 
stopping them by water was shut off forever. At six 
o'clock the walls of the stone block where was S. 
Norwell's store, fell with a crash, which sent the 
sparks, dust and flame far heavenward, and just 
before this, the fire took directly opposite on the 
northerly corner of Federal and Milk streets, and be- 
gan its career towards Kilby and Broad streets. State, 
Devonshire, Congress, and Kilby streets, and Con- 
gress square were, as far as merchandise was con- 
cerned, on wheels and afoot, for everybody was 
moving whatever was portable. A large party of 
men were engaged in tearing down signs in the 
vicinity of Milk, Broad and Kilby streets, and 
around Liberty square. 

A Noble Worh. 

The Boston Traveller sent its movable property to 
Charlestown, and was thus able to issue an edition 
promptly the next day. The Mount Vernon National 
Bank, at 183 Washington street, was destroyed. An 
attempt to blow up Currier & Trott's jewelry store, 
corner of Milk and Washington streets, was unsuccess- 
ful, the explosion spending its force through the win- 
dows, scarcely jarring the solid walls. The windows 
in the neighborhood were all shattered by the concus- 
sions, nothing more. Superintendent Ferristall, of ° 
the city stables, did a noble work in sending out all 
the city teams at an early hour, and keeping them at 
work all through the night and early morning remov- 



THE GREAT FIRE I ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 49 

ing goods to the city stable-yards. It is estimated 
that at least $1,000,000 worth were saved by the 
prompt and efficient action taken by Mr. Forristall. 
Several of the attempts to blow np buildings met with 
the ill success that attended the experiment on the 
corner of Milk and Washington streets, windows only 
being shattered. This also happened in numerous 
other instances. 

Old South Church. 

It was rumored about six o'clock that the Old South 
Church, so dear to the heart of every Boston ian, had 
been mined in readiness to blow up, but on inquiry it 
was found -that those in charge had resolved to risk 
the matter, and look to the protection of the heavy 
walls of the Transcript office opposite. The propri- 
etors of the Transcript did not remove any of their 
material. It was packed, however, and lowered into 
the cellar, consequently entirely destroyed. The Post 
building was nearly destroyed, although the walls 
remain standing. The flames still progressed with 
unabated fury and certainty towards State street. At 
a quarter before nine o'clock it had reached in nearly 
a straight line from Congress street, through Lindall 
to Kilby street and Liberty square, both sides being 
on fire. The rear of the post office, on Lindall street, 
caught fire. It having become necessary to blow up 
the building corner of Congress street and Congress 
square, it was mined and exploded shortly before nine. 
The large granite front building at the northwest 
corner of Lincoln and Kilby streets, occupied by Vin- 



50 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

cent & Hutchings, insurance brokers, J. Wiley 
Edmunds, and several others, was also blown up at 
nine o'clock, though the effect of the blast was appar- 
ently of no material advantage. The inside was shat- 
tered, but the walls and much of the woodwork were 
left standing, the latter in a condition to accelerate 
rather than retard the progress of the fire. 

Towards State Street. 

The flames made their way with grim certainty to- 
wards the corner of Broad and State streets. At nine 
o'clock an effort was made to arrest its progress by 
blowing up the brick building which is the third from 
the State street front; but three explosions failed to 
make the desired impression. Nearly every building 
back of the State street front, between Congress and 
Broad, were already ruined ; while kegs of powder, 
with the match in readiress for lighting, were placed 
under a large number of buildings in the vicinity of 
Broad street, ready to rend them to pieces. In the 
square formed by Doane, State, Kilby and Broad 
streets, at nine o'clock, there was only one building 
on fire, and that had just commenced at the corner 
of Kilby and Doane streets. By half-past eleven 
o'clock the progress of the fire towards the water in 
the direction of Kilby and Central streets seemed to 
be effectually stopped, and the streams of water were 
used in extinguishing the flames among the ruins, 
which present an appearance of utter devastation. At 
three P. M. the progress of the flames in the direction 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 51 

of the water was checked, and the fire was well under 
control everywhere. 

The End. 

All things must come to an end, and after eighteen 
hours of trial Boston emerged from her baptism of fire. 
In that space of time, it had destroyed hundreds of 
the costliest and most substantial warehouses in the 
country, and temporarily paralyzed three of the lead- 
ing mercantile interests, — the shoe and leather, wool 
and dry goods trades. Not a single wholesale estab- 
lishment dealing in shoes and leather was left in the 
city. The wool trade suffered in an equal degree, 
and the dry goods jobbing houses left were few and 
far between. The new Post Office and Sub-Treasury 
building was for a long time exposed to the fierce 
flames and smoke, but was scarcely scarred. This 
massive fire-proof structure saved the Boston Morning 
Post building, directly opposite, and helped greatly in 
preventing the fire from reaching State street. The 
Old South Church also escaped, though several times 
given up for lost. The costly and beautiful Transcript 
Building, and Currier & Trott's jewelry establishment, 
on the opposite corner of Milk street, were burned. 
The Eastern Express office was saved, though reported 
at one time as burned. The following are the general 
boundaries of the conflagration . The whole length and 
both sides of Summer street, across Federal, and nearly 
clown to Drake's wharf, and thence in nearly a direct 
line to Fort Hill, along Hamilton and Battery-march 
to Kilby street, as far as Land ill and Central streets, 



52 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

and from Milk to Summer, on Washington street. 
Within these boundaries, an area of nearly seventy 
acres, every building was consumed. 

Another Account. 

Still more graphic accounts of the awful disaster are 
furnished by some of the correspondents. One writ- 
ing of the awful grandeur of the scene from a dis- 
tance, says : The lurid glare of the flames lighted up 
the entire city, and newspapers could be plainly read 
for miles away. In Providence, which is forty miles 
distant, an alarm of fire was caused by the Boston 
conflagration, somebody presuming that the fire was in 
that city. The fire was also distinctly visible in 
Stonington, Northford, Charlestown, Portsmouth, and 
other places equally distant. Up and down the 
streets, hurried and tumbled a crowd of utterly 
demoralized men and women. There were among 
these, also, at the tea-table Saturday, those who were 
worth millions of dollars, but who are beggars to-day. 

Merchant Princes and Laborers alike Beggared. 

Merchant princes there were, whose word was as 
good as their bond ; men whose single name at the 
bottom of a note for hundreds of thousands, would 
pass upon the street without an endorser ; but to-day 
they scarcely know where to lay their heads. Then, 
too, there were thousands of the hopeless poor about 
the streets. The dwelling houses destroyed were 
nearly all in a thickly settled Irish colony at the South 



TIIE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 55 

Cove, and the plaintive moans of those who were thus 
rudely turned out to battle with the world, destitute, 
attracted universal sympathy. On every corner there 
was a little pile of household furniture, and every 
street was packed with teams. That the city was 
surely to be destroyed, seemed altogether beyond ques- 
tion, and the haggard look, and wild, beseeching eyes 
of the crowds, showed only too plainly the effect which 
the assumption of this idea produced upon the little 
children who were in the streets, half clad, and pite- 
ously imploring the relief which the community was 
powerless to render them. Old men, tottering towards 
the grave, watched with feverish anxiety the progress 
of the destroyer of their accumulations of many years, 
rnd young men, heartbroken, speculated mournfully 
in regard to their future ; but the despondency upon 
the lookers-on was but temporary. With willing 
hearts and strong arms, all lent themselves to the work 
of helping the unfortunate, and there was a gladsome 
exhibition of the principles of the golden rule. In 
spite of the terrible reverses, there was a general 
expression of opinion that Yankee pluck had never a 
better opportunity to show itself. 

"Boston shall he Uebiiilt" 

was the common cry, and the men who uttered it 

meant just what they said. Here is an instance. In 

front of a pile of smouldering ruins, in the centre of 

what was one of the handsomest blocks of buildings 

on Washington street, stands the rough wooden sign, 

4 



56 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

" The firm of Morse, Sheppard & Co., has removed to 
No. 26 Chauncy street." This firm has lost $400,000 
by the fire, and there are hundreds of others who, like 
them, are determined to recommence business as soon 
as possible. Boston is not dead yet, or if it is in a state 
of moribundity, it presents a very lively appearance for 
a corpse. From the persistent and rapid progress of 
the awful conflagration, it became apparent at about 
nine o'clock that the Boston firemen were unequal to 
the task of subduing or even checking its further pro- 
gress ; in fact, the whole city seemed doomed, and 
every citizen became sober and serious. The author- 
ities immediately sent to the neighboring cities — 
Charlestown, Cambridge, and Chelsea — for assistance, 
and in the course of an hour the entire departments of 
the several cities were on the ground ! The fire fiend 
still swept on, and the hundreds of streams which were 
poured on the flames were of no more consequence 
than a single-scull wherry would have been to the pro- 
gress of a Cunard steamer. 



ic 



We must Have still more Help" 



said the Chief Engineer, " or Boston and all its sub- 
urbs will be in ruins before morning." Telegrams 
were then sent to more distant towns and cities, and 
special trains were chartered and the right of way 
given for their immediate transportation. Three 
steamers from Worcester, and the men belonging to 
them, were in Boston and at work within fifty-five 
minutes after the call for help reached them. They 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 57 

• 

came down on a special train over the Albany road, 
and made the forty-four miles in just forty-five min- 
utes. Assistance was also promptly on hand from 
Lowell, Lawrence, Portsmouth, Portland, Manchester, 
Providence, Paw^ucket, Stonington and various other 
of the cities and large towns in this section of New 
England. To say that they all did gallant service 
would convey but a faint idea of the energy and deter- 
mination with which they applied themselves to the 
rescue. But still the fire fiend swept on. One, two 
and three o'clock in the morning, and the firemen 
were seemingly more powerless than ever. A fresh 
breeze wafted over the terrible scene of destruction, 
carrying in all directions sheets of devouring flame 
and showers of burning embers. It seemed as if 

Nothing but a, Deluge from Heaven 

would stay the progress of the terrible element. Some 
rushed frantic and wild through the streets, some 
prayed, some moaned, a few drunken brutes cursed, 
but all showed by their horror-stricken countenances 
that they keenly appreciated the terrible and critical 
situation. 

The Blowing up of Buildings. 

The last terrible resort in cases of devastating fire 
in large cities, was finally determined upon. General 
Benham, at Fort Warren, was sent for, and before day- 
light he came up with several companies of marines 
and thousands and thousands of pounds of powder. 
The marines were quickly distributed around the city 



58 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

for police duty, and under the direction of General 
Benham. Preparations were made for the. blowing up 
of a sufficient number of buildings to clear a space in 
the probable course of the flames, and thus check the 
fire by robbing it of material for its furious passion. 
At three o'clock this work of merciful destruction was 
begun, and the explosions which followed in rapid suc- 
cession were, indeed, welcome sounds to the ears of 
the panic-stricken community, for it betokened a fear- 
less, honest, radical effort to save what was now left of 
the burning city. Three discharges were made in a 
block on Devonshire street, and it threw the building 
partially down ; but it did no apparent good, for the 
flames jumped over it almost instantly again and again. 
This work of destruction and demolition went on, 
each explosion shaking the whole city and breaking 
windows miles away. Portions of Federal and Con- 
gress streets were blown up, but still the 

Flames would Overleap the Vacancy 

created. It was not until daylight that there seemed 
to come any good or relief from this wilful, but abso- 
lutely necessary, destruction of some of Boston's finest 
warehouses, and probably even then all these efforts 
would have been abortive but for the concentration of 
nearly all the fire engines upon one particular point. 
It was about nine o'clock when there came the first 
sense of relief, that the firemen might probably save 
the northern and western sections of the city, both of 
which had for hours seemed inevitably doomed to the 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 59 

same fate as the business portion. This feeling, how- 
ever, was not universal. The wind was still blowing 
fresh, and many shook their heads ominously and de- 
clared that the whole space, from the wharves to the 
Back Bay, and from the south end to the Charleston 
and Cambridge bridges, would be in ruins before night. 
No pen can picture, no brain can frame into thought, 
the effect that this appalling and threatening prospect 
had upon the people. 

Every One seemed Perfectly Frantic, 

wandering hither and thither in great crowds, and 
only adding to the consternation that raged through 
the ranks of the firemen and about the more imme- 
diate localities of the raging flames. Merchant princes, 
who on Saturday locked their doors upon immense 
treasures, now found themselves not only impoverished, 
but threatened with being made homeless by the ter- 
rible fiend. Almost insane, they flew through the ex- 
cited masses, but where and what for they could not 
tell. All, all was consternation. The ruined mer- 
chants, the impoverished mechanics, the helpless and 
homeless shop girls, and the thousands and tens of 
thousands of other representatives of society, all united 
in the general mourning of what had and what might 
come. But 

The Energetic but Exhausted Firemen 

still kept at work., and in the very face of general 
despair, fought the flames more determinedly than 



60 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

ever. Between eight and nine o'clock was the most 
critical period in the whole confl igration. The whole 
of the Fifth Ward had been nearly destroyed, and from 
Summer street almost down to Milk, a clean sweep had 
been made of everything on the east side of Washing- 
ton street. The old South Church, the famous sanc- 
tuary of many generations, on the northeast corner of 
Washington and Milk streets, was now the objective 
point. If that succumbed to the furious element, it 
was generally conceded that the whole of the north 
and west ends would follow. Thousands watched the 
old spire with breathless anxiety and prayed fervently 
that it might be spared. The firemen worked with a 
determination, inspired, it seemed, as if by Heaven, 
and for an hour or more not less than 

Fifty Streams poured upon the Ancient Tabernacle, 

and the burning buildings surrounding it, Steadily 
but slowly the brave fellows seemed to get the mastery 
of the fiend, and finally, after hours of persistent toil, 
they came out triumphantly. The old "South" was 
saved, and so was half of Boston. Thanksgivings 
mingled with tears, and " God bless you " were show- 
ered in profusion upon the timely saviors. But while 
this battle was being fought, the fiery enemy was 
making a flank movement in another direction. 
Devonshire street, already destroyed on both sides 
from its southern extremity clear up to Milk, was now 
being mowed away upon the west side down to Water 
street, and threatened to be, what subsequently was, 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 61 

one of the most disastrous features of the whole con- 
flagration. At the same time, the flames took a turn up 
Congress street as far as Water, dodging around the 
magnificent New Post Office structure, and fastening 
its fury upon a large new granite building on the north 
side of Water street and immediately adjoining the 
elegant establishment of the Boston Daily Post. The 
heat which now came frona the burning of the sinuous 
structure, was of a kind which need not be described. 
It was so intense as to cause the streams which were 
vainly directed against it to assume all the 

Colors of the Rainbow, 

and the Water street front of the New Post Office 
crumbled under its influence as if it had been so much 
glass. The danger winch had before seemed imminent 
from the burning of the old South was now repeated. 
Both sides of Washington street were threatened, and, 
of course, there would follow — no one knew what; 
but the wind went down and all apprehensions were 
again removed. The flames, however, inclined down 
towards Broad street and the wharves, and went with 
a speed and destructiveness that were terrible beyond 
description. 

Congress Block Enwrapped. 

About half- past eight o'clock Congress block, a 
massive granite building on Congress street, caught 
fire and all efforts to save it were futile. The flames 
communicated from the rear of Congress block to the 



62 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

brick part of the Old Post Office building, facing on 
Lindall street, early in the morning, when there were 
fears that the Post Office building would succumb to 
the fiery element, Every letter and paper in the en- 
tire establishment, all the furniture, mail bags, and, in 
fact, all the valuable movable property in the mailing 
department, were conveyed in teams to the Custom 
House for safe keeping. 

Nothing was disturbed in the stamp and money 
order departments. As soon as the flames entered the 
building from the rear they spread rapidly through 
almost the entire third-story, which is occupied by 
offices, and by the following parties: No. 7, N. P. 
Lovering; No. 10, Abel Abbott ; No. 13, New York 
Fire Insurance Company; No. 17, H. G. F. Candage ; 
No. 21, J S. Abbott; No. 27, Charles Cowley and 
Henshaw & Brothers, stock auctioneers and brokers. 
Postmaster Burt's private office was destroyed, but 
everything of value was removed to the Custom 
House. In addition to the offices, the foreiga and 
newspaper departments were consumed by half-past 
ten. Meanwhile the fiery monster was continuing its 
work on Congress street, and attacked the five-story 
brick building on the corner of Water street, occu- 
pied in the upper story by Baff & Stephens, printers ; 
third-story by G. E. Meacham, and the lower stories 
by Andrews & Robinson and J. Richardson & Son. 
The brick block on Congress street, next to Congress 
block, numbered 24 and 26, was next attacked and 
soon laid low, as was also the famous Monks building 
at the foot of Congress square. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 63 

The Sub -Treasury of the United States, 

located in the same structure as the Post Office, was 
among the institutions ruined, but not destroyed. The 
roof was entirely burned off, and also the inside 
cleaned out ; but its immense valuable contents were 
safely removed to the Custom House. While the 
Post Office was fairly encased with lurid flame from 
the bottom to the top, while back in the rear of Con- 
gress square the large buildings that front on the east 
side of Devonshire were bursting out with forked 
flames, the writer met Chief Damrill on State street, 
near the old State House, and the features of his 
blackened, burned and haggard face could be read as 
in a book the great anxiety that was stirring his very 
soul. 

" One word, Captain," said the reporter. " For 
God's sake, what of the prospect V 3 

Shaking his head, and with a gesture that told more 
than words : 

"Bad! Bad! ! Bad!!! 

God help burning Boston ! " said he, and on he went 
through a dense volume of smoke to where a corps of 
his nearly suffocated and famished men were strug- 
gling: with the fiend. At this time the flames were 
working rapidly to windward and back into Congress 
street. 

The fire was not without its humors as well as its 
pains. One sturdy fellow, who had never read Hood's 
poems, threw a large mirror out of a window on Bed- 
ford street and came down stairs on a dead run with 



61 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

a feather bed behind him. Another fellow, with 
whom I conversed, said his wife had sprained her 
ankle, and added, " I don't care much about that 
though — not half so much as she does ; the ankle can 
be cured by a doctor, but there isn't a surgeon in all 
the town can bring me back my 6 black an tan.' He 
was burned to death, sir, recklessly, and through care- 
lessness. I'd rather have given a dollar than had it 
happen." 

An account by an Eye Witness. 

A Philadelphia gentleman who saw the fire, con- 
tributes the following sketch, which may well serve as 
a fitting conclusion to this chapter of horrors* 

I left Philadelphia for this place on Friday morning 
at eleven o'clock, intending to pay a visit to my family 
in Roxbury. I took the train from West Philadelphia 
to New York; thence by the Fall River line I came to 
Boston. I arrived here at eight o'clock on Saturday, 
and having concluded to remain all night in the city, 
took up my quarters at the United States Hotel. After 
supper, I started towards the Boston Theatre, but 
before I reached it, and at about eight o'clock, the 
number of people rushing through the streets, and 
the light of a great fire attracted my attention, and 
joining the throng, I soon found myself on Summer 
street, within a block or two of 

The Burning Buildtiig. 

Out of all the windows of this, through the roof, 
and in the rear, great volumes of flame, running one 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 65 

hundred feet high, were bursting forth. The building 
had three times the front of an ordinary structure, and 
the scene was a grand and imposing one. A high 
wind was blowing, and before the firemen were gen- 
erally on the ground, or fully at work, the buildings 
along Summer and Kingston streets, about one hun- 
dred and fifty feet on both, were a mass of flame. The 
heat was of course intense, and the inefficiency of the 
firemen was not to be wondered at. In less than a half 
hour after I arrived on the ground, the flames had 
spread upon both sides of the street, and the scene had 
become awful beyond description. But the worst was 
yet to follow. 

The Gale. 

By this time the wind had increased to nearly a gale, 
and the flames having the entire mastery of everything, 
swept from story to story, from roof to roof, from 
block to block, and from corner to corner, driving the 
firemen from every vantage ground they could secure, 
and rendering all their exertions useless and futile. 
Wherever the flames reached they rapidly consumed 
everything of a combustible character, even melting 
granite blocks and iron doors and shutters like so 
much lead. As I passed from street to street, without 
knowing where I was going, I realized the awfulness 
of the burning of Chicago in the red acres whose glare 
pained my eyesight beyond the point of endurance, in 
the roar and crackle of the mighty molten sheets that 
stretched towards the sky, and in the crash and crum- 



66 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

ble of the massive walls that fell at intervals of every 
few moments. 

The Streets, 

had now become densely crowded. Men were rush- 
ing frantically to and fro in every direction, and what 
surprised me greatly, drunkenness was becoming gen- 
eral. Thieves were busily at work, but it was difficult 
to tell friend from foe. So when one saw a man 
hurrying past with a bale of goods, he was at loss to 
commend him as a brave fellow, or denounce him as 
a marauder. The police were equally active, and 
every now and then I saw one or more with a prisoner 
on his way to the station house. At about midnight 
I thought the whole city doomed, and began to be 
anxious for my own safety The crash of the falling 
blocks of granite, the hum of the engines, the roar of 
the seething flames, the hiss of the steam as immense 
volumes of water were poured in upon the burning 
mass, and the shouting of the fireman, made up a 
Babel of horrible sounds — it was like a pandemonium. 



The Explosions. 

Soon the confusion was made worse confounded by 
the noise of tremendous explosions. At the sound of 
these, the trepidation increased, but the knowledge 
that they were the report of buildings blown up to 
block the path of the fire, reassured the people. Soon, 
too, the appearance of patrols upon the street, the fact 
that the volume of smoke did not increase, and that 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS, 67 

the area of flame remained about the same, added still 
further to the confidence of the people, and many left, 
only, however, to have their places filled by others, 
eager to catch a closer glimpse of the terrible scenes. 
About daybreak, worn out with physical fatigue and 
mental anxiety, I returned to the United States Hotel, 
only to find out that it had been the scene of an alarm 
the night before, and that many of the guests had re- 
moved their baggage to a safer locality. I remained up 
for more than an hour discussing (he awful occurrence, 
and then completely used up, retired and slept soundly 
until 4 P. M. Venturing out, I found that the fire 
was confined to the limits of the night before, and 
that all danger of its general spread was past. Du- 
ring all this time I did not see a single case of 

Suffering or Destitution, 

save when some merchant moaned the loss of some 
thousands of dollars, or a young jackanapes boasted 
that his father had- been reduced from a millionaire 
to a beggar. Of women and children deprived of 
their homes I did not see one, nor a single case where 
household goods were being carried through the 
streets. That there were such instances, I have no 
doubt; that I did not see them I congratulate myself. 
Of the money losses sustained I know little. My 
object has been to simply give you my own experi- 
ence. 



68 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 



SCENES AND INCIDENTS. 

The Crowds upon the Street. Terror of the People. 

Of course there is another side to this dreadful 
calamity than that painted in the preceding pages. 
When the fire first broke out, most of the people were 
in doors preparing for the celebration of the Sabbath, 
the observance of which in Boston, is almost as strict 
now, as it was in the days of the Puritan fathers. 

Those who were in the streets, were mainly hurry- 
ing to the theatres or making their Saturday evening 
purchases. When the fire was discovered, large crowds, 
of course, flocked to Kingston and Summer streets, and 
soon these thoroughfares were well nigh impassable. 
The big building out of which the liquid flames were 
rolling heavenward, soon became a beacon that lit np 
the entire city. The dense volume of smoke, illumi- 
nated by millions of sparks that rose through its roof, 
added to the awful beauty of the scene, and made a 
picture of sublime but terrible splendor. There was 
little to save in the building, and the spectators be- 
thought themselves of the surrounding property. 
Axes and every conceivable implement were brought 
into play, and soon the massive oaken doors were 
crashing under a hundred well-directed blows. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 69 

The Engines. 

The fire engines were not promptly at hand, owing 
to the general dearth of healthy horses, and it was 
long before anything like a deluge of water could be 
sent upon the burning buildings. Merchants whose 
warehouses were scattered all about came running and 
driving furiously from up town, and some, trying to 
force their horses through the now enormous crowds, 
had to be beaten back by the police. Leaving their 
beast at any place that came to hand, they jammed and 
elbowed their way, shouting themselves hoarse in 
their madness to get at the houses in which their 
goods and papers were laid away There was no 
hope of saving the former, for now the flames had 
run away down Kingston street and both ways in 
Summer, eating up the heavily built houses as if they 
were so much stifbble, or the shanties which occupied 
their places ten or twelve years ago. Spectators 
merely had become inextricably, and by no means 
amicably, intermingled with persons sorely interested 
in the conflagration, and there was something very 
like a stampede to save what could be saved. Build 
ings and stores in the line of the fire were forced 
open or unlocked by their owners and lessees, and 
goods thrown out recklessly and given to utter stran- 
gers to be carried to places of safety. 



70 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

A Panic. 

Fabulous prices were offered to those who were able 
and willing to lend a hand in the work, and, between 
those trying to force their way to the fire and those en- 
deavoring to fight their way out of it, a scene of confu- 
sion which baffles description ensued. The streets are 
miserably narrow and unworthy of the magnificent 
granite buildings which line them, and when the fire had 
turned Washington street, where are many fine shops 
and stores, their windows ablaze with silks and jewelry, 
a perfect panic seized the crowd that surged northward, 
and swept by the goods that looked so temptingly easy 
to be obtained ; but, as yet, there was no pillage of any 
sort. The shop girls here were in a perfect frenzy, and 
in getting away had to take their chances in the crowd, 
to be knocked about, and, as likely as not, be trodden 
down. The wind had now increased in violence till 
it had become a most furious gale, blowing smoke and 
firebrands into the faces of the crowd, and beating 
back the firemen, who stood as firmly as possible to 
their work. The skies were wild with the reflection 
of the lurid flames which hissed along the streets and 
ran from house to house, licking and lapping them and 
writhing about them like fiery serpents. 

Ludicrous Incidents, 

A ludicrous incident occurred on Hamilton place. 
"Major Grant," as she is called, a semi-imbecile 
female, with an immense waterfall and pug nose, be- 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 73 

came dissatisfied with the view from Fremont street, 
and decided to obtain a better quarter. Accordingly 
she picked up somebody else's chair in front of a store 
and pulled her dress up to her ankles and dusted it ; 
then, carrying the chair to the centre of the place, she 
sat down and gazed placidly at the progress of the 
flames. While she was doing so, however, a rabble 
of newsboys gathered about. They fastened a long 
piece of rope to the chair, of which Mrs. "Major 
Grant" was oblivious, and, after a moment's consulta- 
tion, jerked the rope vigorously, leaving the victim 
sprawling in a puddle. Mrs. " Major Grant " was 
vexed. 

Not the least laughable of the incidents, was that 
in which a middle-aged lady played important parts. 
She was somewhat on the shady side of forty, tall, 
thin and bony of aspect. Her sandy hair was 
screwed up into numberless rigid curls on either side 
of her face, and a cranched bonnet fluttered defiantly 
down her back, and was only prevented from falling 
off by the ribbons by which it was tied about her 
neck. 

She pushed her way through the excited crowds 
while the fire was raging at its highest, wringing her 
hands, and shrieking frantically for " Clara," who 
implored, wept, stormed, and moaned for " Clara, 1 ' 
enlisting everybody's sympathy. " Will nobody put 
out a hand to save the poor thing ?" she implored, in 
almost frantic accents. " Oh, dear ; oh, dear ! My lit- 
tle darling will be burnt to death." 

Even the most hardened felt for the agony that 



74 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

seemed to be urging the poor woman to madness. 
Firemen stopped their work to ask her where her 
"Clara" was, and several crowded about her with 
proffers of assistance if she would only be explicit. 
But not a coherent explanation could be gained from 
her. She continued to wring her hands and to moan, 
" Clara, Clara ; my poor Clara." 

In the meanwhile a thrill of terror went through 
the multitude at the idea that some human creature 
was in deadly peril of burning to death, and no intel- 
ligence of her whereabouts was to be gained from the 
half demented woman before them, who rocked to and 
fro, sobbing and refusing to be comforted. Presently, 
with a wild shriek of joy, she darted forward, shouting 
" Clara, Clara !" and stooped down. 

Crouching in a corner was a large white cat, with 
singed fur, who, with curved back and swollen tail, 
stood hissing and spitting with fearful energy. As the 
old lady stooped to pick her darling up, the ungrateful 
cat flew at her, leaving the marks of her claws on her 
face, and darted off in mad terror amid the jeers, 
laughter, and hootings of the crowd,' her frantic mis- 
tress darting after her with the bonnet flying ensign 
downward like a signal of distress. 



&' 



Incidents of the Fire. 

The. first explosion of gas was heard by Mrs. Mar- 
tha Hudson and her aged mother, who resided in 
Summer street. Mrs. Hudson rushed to one of the 
second story windows in which she lived, and called 
for assistance. As none seemed to be at hand, she 



THE GREAT FIRE : ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 75 

jumped to the pavement. She was severely burned 
about the legs, and was taken to the Second Station. 
Her mother probably perished in the building, as she 
was not seen to escape. A mother and her infant 
child were rescued from the sixth story of an endan- 
gered building, in Summer street, by the firemen, 
who put up their ladders just in time to prevent the 
woman from leaping into the street. 

The current of air created by the "flames was so 
great, that fragments of paper were carried 16 miles 
away. Leaves of check-books and ledgers were found 
at Quincy, Hanover and East Weymouth. Cinders 
fell in Abington, Hanover and Pembroke. A charred 
$50 note was picked up at East Abington. The 
glare of the conflagration was seen by night at Con- 
cord, N. H., and the light was distinctly visible ninety 
miles at sea, and was also noticed off the Isle of 
Shoals. There are stories of heroism which deserve 
to be told over and over again. Two firemen, whose 
names have not been learned, rushed into a ruined 
building to help a poor fellow half buried by the fall 
of one of the side walls. While they were at work 
the front wall came down, and they were never seen 
again. We are ignorant, too, of the name of the brave 
fellow who crawled into a cellar on Congress street, 
and let off the steam from three overheated boilers 
which threatened every instant to explode. It was so 
hot that his comrades kept two streams of water play- 
ing on him while he performed this perilous duty. 



76 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION* 

Heart Rending Scenes^ 

There were not a few heart rending scenes to record, 
which makes the pen falter. A little girl whose name is 
unknown, was in one of the upper rooms of a house on 
Washington street, looking out of a window at the 
fire. She was seen from the street to be struck full in 
the face by a piece of burning wood and knocked back 
into the room, from which, in an incredible short space 
of time, the flames burst forth in great masses. In a 
moment or two the whole building was wrapped in 
fire. A woman with a child in her arms, and her 
clothes nearly burned from her back, came rushing 
from the house, shrieking in terror, and calling loudly 
for her husband. In a short time she disappeared, 
crazy with fright, in the direction of the fire. Unless 
turned back by the patrol, she in all probability per- 
ished. People were knocked down, and some were 
killed, by blazing missiles almost before it was known 
that there was any fire where they were, for the wind 
carried the flames in almost every direction with fright- 
ful speed. Many supposing themselves out of the reach 
of it, stood at their doors receiving goods from their 
friends, who supposed they had carried them to a place 
of safety, and before long, not only had these persons 
their own property to remove, but that which they had 
received, and which clogged stairways and passages 
so as to impede the removal of the others. 



THE GREAT FIRE : ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 77 

Boston Common. 

Boston Common proved itself of really practical 
value during the fire, and indeed its uses are still 
manifest. From early in the evening of Saturday till 
early in the morning of Sunday, baggage vans of all 
sorts and descriptions deposited their contents on the 
Common. The location of the little park in the cen- 
tre of the city, and the fact that there could be -but 
little danger to anything placed there, rendered it a 
convenient asylum for all sorts of household goods. 
Pots, kettles and pans, beds and bedbugs, crying 
women and hungry babies were plentiful enough. 

A Molten Netzvorh. 

Confusion was worse confounded and despair ren- 
dered more despairing, as is always the case at such 
times. The most useless of articles were borne about 
as though of immense value ; silks and satins were 
thrown into the street and trodden into utter worth- 
lessness, or picked up and lugged away by the passers 
by. There was no limit to the goods lost in this Avay, 
nor could the police, vigilant as it was, prevent the 
robbery, for owners could not be told from thieves. 
Carts and trucks dragged by men and horses, dashed and 
jammed their way along, breaking boxes and upsetting 
in their passage, and making, with the glare of the 
light, no bad picture of what pandemonium must be. 
On their heads the blazing buildings dropped great 
gouts and flakes of fire, as though from the fingers of 



78 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

a bloody hand dipped in brimstone. The fire, owing 
partly to the state of the wind, did not proceed w r ith 
very great rapidity down Kingston street — it was slow, 
but it was sure. What is more terribly grand than 
the onward march of a mighty fire in a great city — 
its arms outstretched to grasp and wither granite and 
iron, which then seem almost to be as easy a prey as 
dry wood ? The flames in Kingston street, as they 
crept out of the windows and stole solidly on to build- 
ings about them, seemed a vast network of molten 
iron. The stones cracked and fell hissing with the 
water that had been showered upon them, and the 
iron bent and doubled upon itself in long loops. The 
houses while being gutted were great cauldrons from 
which the fire darted and bubbled up, roaring above 
the noise of the engines working below, and filling the 
heavens with its crimson light. 

Tensor of the Women. 

As the fire spread through the adjacent streets, 
threatening to consume all the lower part of the city, 
and, perhaps, should the wind change, the entire popu- 
lation become aroused, and far up -town, though it was 
now late at night, there was no thought of going to 
bed. Women left alone in the magnificent houses in 
Beacon street, became so nervous and fidgety that they 
could scarcely endure to stay in the house, and a some- 
what ludicrous story is told of a Mrs. M., who actually 
had her penates, her beds, pictures, and heirlooms, 
which had come down to her from the time when her 
great-great-grandfather burned witches in Salem, all 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 19 

packed up together and placed on the floor in the hall, 
condemning her less frightened, and naturally less in- 
terested, 4 servants from sleeping all night, except on 
floors and lounges. Another lady, whose husband 
owned a large dry goods "emporium" in Kingston 
street, and had left her in bed at ten o'clock at night, 
could not endure the excitement alone, and so ordered 
up her coachman and kept him driving her about the 
lower town till four o'clock in the morning, protruding 
her head from the coach window and wildly calling to 
her every man who bore the slightest resemblance to 
her lost lord, and then dismissing him with, ;; Oh, it 
isn't you, is it V 9 

Among the Poorer Classes. 

In the narrow, tortuous streets where the poor peo- 
ple resided, the consternation wag, if anything, greater 
than in the quarters where the rich had their dwell- 
ings. The excitement in South Cove was indescriba- 
ble. It was thought at one time, that the fire would 
surely reach this quarter, and its denizens ran about 
like lunatics, shrieking and bemoaning their hard fate. 
AVomen, with babes in their arms, stopped for an 
instant to hear and tell the news, and discuss the 
probabilities, and then rushed away, crying with fear, 
and crazed with excitement. Lost children, forgotten 
or abandoned during the turmoil, sat on the curb- 
stones, weeping, or fled in terror in every direction, 
vainly seeking their lost parents. Women in child- 
bed were delivered prematurely ; the sick were left 
alone in their bed-chambers, deserted by their friends, 



80 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

and filled with apprehension that the fire might at 
any moment reach them. In their weakness, ten or 
twelve invalids are said to have been killed by fear, 
which no assurance could allay. In one of the tene- 
ments devoured by the flames, a woman, her new born 
infant, and her husband, were burned to death, the 
man nobly refusing to leave his family, being unable 
to remove them to a place of safety. 



A Wild, Wild Night. 

The alarm bell sounding, and the shock of explo- 
sions which shook the city to its very centre as house 
after house was blown up to prevent the further spread 
of the conflagration, added unspeakable horror to the 
scene. It was a wild night of fear and anguish to 
many a poor soul, but it was not devoid of ludicrous 
interest. The pedal of a piano was carefully carried 
from High street to Beacon, and left with a friend of 
its owner, with a note saying that all was lost — pic- 
tures, furniture, everything, and only with great diffi- 
culty had this been saved. Old women with family 
plate to save ran about with it in their hands, and 
could not be persuaded by their grandsons and sons 
to act in a rational manner. Family pride and love 
of heirlooms probably exists to a greater extent in 
Boston than in any other American city, and to many 
an old woman, and many a young one, too, for that 
matter, it would be almost as hard to lose an old tea- 
set or cabinet as to lose a fortune. Some of the men 
are as bad as the women, and occasionally more crazy. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 81 

A well known gentleman, long since retired from 
business which he left to his son, insisted on going 
down to his ancient counting-room, or rather to the 
more elegant one that took its place years ago. In 
the safe there there were not only bonds and mort- 
gages and other business papers without number, but 
there was the authentic document in which the family 
pedigree was traced. lie and his son went together ; 
the latter succeeded after some difficulty in securing 
his valuables, but the old gentleman fixed his atten- 
tion only on the pedigree. He secured it, rushed to 
the door, but was called back by his son. Fully de- 
termined that his descendants should be able to trace 
their ancestors, and having the dread of fire about him, ■ 
he left the precious papers with a man at the door, and 
naturally enough he lost them. There are many val- 
uable private libraries in Boston, and many most dili- 
gent students there, who could more readily lose all 
else of earthly good than their precious books. One 
of these gentlemen left the packing up of his furniture 
and the care of everything else to his family, and 
pulled down his books from their shelves, had all of 
them which he most highly prized nailed up in boxes, 
and sent off to the house of a friend. Then he sat 
calmly down on a bed and read "De Contemptu 
Mundt" and " Plotinus" while the modern Athens 
burned. 

Old Buildings Destroyed. 

In the vicinity of Milk street were still standing a 
few old houses whose inhabitants, being their owners 



82 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

as well, and mostly old unmarried ladies, refused with 
tenacity to leave the spot where their fathers had been 
born and died, and where they hoped to end their 
days in the same quiet and peaceful manner. They 
had become attached to the place and declined to 
leave under any inducements. To speculators and 
tempting offers they were deaf and immovable ; but 
who can resist the commands of fire'? Sitting in their 
parlors they awaited, pale and trembling, the approach 
of the flames. Like veritable descendants of the 
Puritans, they would not fly until the last moment. 
But when that last moment came, their only thought 
was to rescue the precious relics which had been religi- 
ously handed down for generations. One of them 
rushed into the street tugging away manfully at a 
huge carved oaken table, which, by dint of almost her- 
culean efforts — for her — she had succeeded in getting 
as far as the sidewalk. Here, with the accustomed 
total depravity of inanimate things, it defied her, and 
despite all her exertions she could move it. but a few 
inches at a time. Behind her the flames roared and 
crackled fiercely, but to all recommendations to leave 
she replied that the table had " come over in the May- 
flower," and that she would sooner lose life itself than 
the memorable piece of furniture. Another, of a 
stouter build, shouldered a large clock and trudged off 
with it manfully, the disarranged machinery beating a 
perpetual alarm as though protesting wildly against 
such sacrilegious handling. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PKOGRESS. 



83 



A Cheerless Sabbath Morning. 

Early in the morning of that sleepless night of men 
and the elements, nearly the whole of the lower busi- 
ness part of the city was in ashes or in flames. Walls 
fell with a sullen roar, sending up showers of sparks 
and cinders, and the lurid smoke that rolled above the 
town. The rising sun was scarcely noticed in the un- 
earthly light as of the day of doom. Between four 
and five o'clock the gas gave out down town. Houses 
and whole blocks of buildings were being bio wed up, 
and this noise added the effect of bombardment to that 
of the devastating fire. The streets were surging with 
people running and riding, and getting at trucks and 
carts to carry away things. In Broad street, where for 
some reason or other, numbers of people had congre- 
gated, goods were thrown and fell into the harbor, the 
sight 'from which was most gloomily magnificent. It 
was Sunday morning, but no one except a few devotees 
thought of attending church, and as the day went on, 
services were generally abandoned. The streets were 
crowded with carriages and cabs, and nothing could 
recall the old-time Boston Sabbath. From the neigh- 
boring towns the firemen began to come, and there was 
need of them, for the firemen of the city were all but 
exhausted to death by the terrible ordeal through which 
they had passed, and m which not a few of them had 
perished. 



81 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

How the Helpers ivere Received. 

Steam engines arrived from all parts of the State, 
and from New Hampshire. Two came from Portland, 
with four hundred citizens, to lend their aid, and as 
they made for the scene of action they were greeted 
with cheers and even tears. The police, too, were 
exhausted, and the military had, to some extent, to 
take their place. They had worked hard during that 
awful night, when it was no easy task to keep the city 
in order. Thefts and robberies of the most barefaced 
and outrageous sorts had been committed in the open 
street. Women had been knocked down, and the valu- 
ables they were removing had been taken from 
them. The already crowded jails and station houses 
were taxed heavily, and not less that between two 
hundred and three hundred arrests having been made. 
" What is to be done ?" was on every body's lips, and 
curses were freely given to the authority which re- 
fused to allow the horses to be used at the first alarm 
of fire, because they were just recovering from the 
epizootic disorder. But every feeling was subordinate 
to that of the dread of the fire, which was still raging 
with unabated fury. Food and drink were brought to 
the firemen who bad worked so long and so well, but 
many of them wef£ t 60 sorely exhausted that they could 
not eat or drink, and worked on mechanically. 

After the Worst was over. 

As there was a dark side to the picture of the Bos- 
ton disaster, so also was there a bright one. The tele- 



THE GREAT FIRE I ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 85 

graph wires that on Sunday flashed the news which so 
startled the nation, on Monday brought the cheering 
words that the greatest city of all New England had 
been rescued. Boston saved ! saved from the terrible 
fate of total destruction by fire, which but a few short 
hours before threatened her, was the glad tidings that 
greeted the people of every city on Monday. The 
flames had at last been conquered ; the brave and 
energetic firemen finally proving more than an equal 
to the furious element. Thousands heard of the 
grand achievement for which the gallant men battled 
so hard, and thanked God that their efforts had been 
successful. 

The Gallant Firemen. 

No words can picture the sufferings of these bold, 
self-sacrificing men during that long, long night. 
Holding their ground amid the terrific explosions of 
gas, they did their duty grandly Saved ! saved ! was 
on every lip as daylight appeared, and that fearful red 
glare, which had kept the father, the mother, and the 
child from bed during the entire night, was no more 
to be seen. Well, well were the firemen repaid for 
their determined efforts to stay the flames and save 
the tenement houses. The " God bless the brave fel- 
lows" was heard on every hand. Women came from 
their homes, sometimes distant a dozen squares, bring- 
ing warm coffee and bread for those that were hungry, 
and nothing that the firemen needed but was quickly 
secured for them. The night guard, who had patrolled 
the streets, watching for the skulking thieves, were 



86 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

not forgotten. They also came in for a share of the 
praise awarded by the people. The policemen of Bos- 
ton will never forget the scenes they witnessed while 
the flames were leaping from street to street, sweeping 
every thins: before it. The man-vulture seeking for 
prey, the frantic merchant, almost crazed by his sud- 
den fall from wealth to poverty, the frightened mother, 
with her babe in her arms, the careful and cool father, 
watching the chances of his home escaping, all came 
under the eye of the guardian of the peace. Here he 
would see the merchant prince, who, on Saturday, 
locked his doors on immense treasures, roaming 
through the streets, well knowing that he had not 
only been impoverished, but that he was threatened 
with being made homeless by the terrible fiend. Men 
almost insane he would see flying through the excited 
masses, where and for what he could not tell ; all, all 
was consternation before him. The ruined financier, 
the impoverished mechanic, the helpless and homeless 
shop girl, and the thousands and tens of thousands of 
other representatives of society, all united in the 
general misery, is a spectacle which he can never 
efface from his memory. 

Many interesting stories are told of hairbreadth 
escapes and daring ventures which transpired during 
the conflagration. In deeds of individual heroism the 
inhabitants of Boston showed themselves to be worthy 
of their ancient fame, and the fortitude with which 
they bore up against their overwhelming losses, ex- 
cited the admiration of the thousands of strangers 
from all parts of the country who crowded the streets, 



THE GREAT FIRE*. ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 87 

gratifying their curiosity, as much as the sentries and 
soldiers would allow, with a view of the ruins. 



Boston by Candle-light. 

Without gas, and with only the flicker of candle- 
light to facilitate locomotion, the city presented a 
lonely and desolate appearance by night after the fire. 
The streets were dark and sadly gloomy, and the ter- 
rible force of the calamity was brought nearer to the 
hearts of the people than it was when the fire was 
fiercest and hottest. Twelve hundred of the State 
militia were on duty all over the city. Every street in 
Boston was guarded by bayonets, and the burnt dis- 
trict was encircled by a double line of soldiers. The 
tramp, tramp of the sentinels, as they paced their 
lonely beats, and the dangerous click of the gun locks 
as they challenged those who manifested a desire to 
encroach upon their domain, brought back the days of 
the war. Really, in fact, if not by public proclama- 
tion, Boston was literally under martial law Monday 
and Tuesday nights. Here and there a squad of the 
horse patrol dashed through the streets, in and out of 
the burned district, and the dark blue coats and brass 
buttons of the city police were omnipresent. 

Viewing the Flames on Saturday night. 

Many persons viewed the ravages of the flames 
during Saturday and Sunday nights, from the highest 
points of observation in the city. From the roof of 
the Parker House, the sight was simply terrible. 



88 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Sheets of flame and dense clouds of smoke overhung 
the whole southeastern prospect, and in the great 
whole it was impossible to distinguish clearly any one 
point which would show precisely where the limit of 
the fire was. Up Franklin street the fire came, one 
building after another pouring flame out of its win- 
dows, and in a short time crumbling down and giving 
place to its neighbor, by that time fiercely burning. 

The scenes in the Parker House were of the 
utmost ccnfusion. When the Transcript building 
went, and further up the Marlborough Hotel was 
reported on fire, it was thought by many that it was 
merely a question of hours before the Parker House 
should be consumed ; and although scarcely an inmate 
of the house was not up viewing the scene, every 
room was visited, and the occupants admonished to 
have their baggage removed, and be ready to vacate 
on a moment's notice. Trunks and boxes were carted 
away, and all the hacks were in constant motion car- 
rying boarders away to safer quarters. 

In South Boston, during the whole of Saturday 
night, nearly all the men whose business interests had 
not called them to the city proper, spent the weary, 
anxious hours in watching the progress of the 
destroyer, and in efforts to preserve their own and 
their neighbors' property from ruin which threatened 
from the sea of sparks that deluged the outer portion 
of the peninsula. Gazing cityward from any of the 
eminences, as the Blind Asylum Hill, Independence 
Square, and Telegraph Hill, the sight was inexpres- 
sibly, magnificently terrible. The eyes were almost 




BURNING OF THE •• BOSTON PILOT" BUILDINGS. 



TOE GREAT FIRE; ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 91 

blinded by the seething, surging sea of flame, its hun- 
gry tongues leaping eagerly upward from their with- 
ering encounter with their prey, soaring to the zenith, 
and thence away to the southeast, wrapped in densely 
rolling clouds of lurid smoke spangled with myriads of 
vivid sparks. The ears were deafened with the steady 
horrible roar of the flames and the almost incessant 
crash of falling walls. Showers of shining cinders fell 
thickly all about — even blazing brands as large as one's 
hand, were wafted over by the breeze, and threatened 
destruction to the wooden buildings with which this 
portion of the city is crowded. 

All South Boston east of II street, and particularly 
between I and L. streets, w T as directly in the path of 
the sparks and brands. Flakes of granite from some 
of the magnificent buildings destroyed, fragments of 
slate and even whole sheets of roofing tin w r ere borne 
across the harbor by the strong currents of heated air 
and smoke and fell thickly upon the house-tops and 
pavements. There were many narrow escapes from 
damage by fire in the vicinity of City Point. One 
building near the gas house on K street, which was 
occupied by several families as a dwelling house, was 
fired, but fortunately discovered in time to be ex- 
tinguished. Two or three firebrands, a foot or more 
in length, fell upon the roof of a house on Broadway, 
three or four doors beyond K street, and one on the 
roof nearest K street, where it burned for several 
minutes. Both these roofs being slated no damage 
was done, though in the former case there was a nar- 
row escape from the ignition of the woodwork of 



92 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

«■ 

several dormer windows. In both cases, and among 
nearly all the residents in this vicinity, the owners and 
occupants of dwellings sat through the night wrapped 
in rugs or blankets upon their roofs, with pails of 
water at hand, or patrolled the streets and yards, 
watching the falling missiles and promptly extinguish- 
ing them as soon as possible. 

Nearly all night crowds occupied the places on the 
hills whence, through open spaces or cross streets, 
views of the fire could be obtained, and mournfully 
gazed at the destruction taking place. Even Sunday 
night many people occupied these points of observa- 
tion, and watched with satisfaction the gradual dead- 
ening of the flames. The sight was a peculiar one at 
this time. The fierce blaze, the wild flames leaping 
from building to building and wrapping stately blocks 
in a scarlet winding sheet, were gone. In their place 
huge fields of glowing ruins, covered with smouldering 
lambent fires, occasionally broken by piles of half- 
di'stroyed debris or standing w r alls, up which the blaze 
climbed and played, while over all hung a dense, 
murky pall of smoke, slowly floating to the southward 
in rolling, heaving billows, borne by the gentle breeze. 

The elevated site of old Dorchester Heights, now 
generally known as Telegraph Hill, was visited dur- 
ing Saturday night and Sunday by hundreds of persons, 
who there obtained a grand view of the great catas- 
trophe. The scene of the fire when at its height, 
w 7 as most vivid and distinct, and left an impression 
which the beholders will never forget. The march of 
the fire in certain directions was clearly traced, and 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 93 

the brilliant skeletons of once magnificent structures 
came out fully in the background, while the roaring 
of the flames, the whistle of the steamers and the 
crash of the engines were plainly heard and even pene- 
trated every home. 

After ten o'clock Saturday night, and when it had 
become evident to every one in South Boston that a 
second Chicago calamity was impending over the city 
proper, a busy scene commenced in Wards Seven and 
Twelve. The curious and the pecuniarily' interested 
began to throng on foot the streets leading to the con- 
flagration, while the South Boston horse cars were 
filled to their extreme capacity. The streets (generally 
so free from vehicles at this hour) also beo-an to ring" 
with the clatter of carts and express wagons of every 
description, some of the drivers taking over teams be- 
longing to firms, in order to be ready to convey goods, 
if necessary, to a place of safety, while other express- 
men had in view a prospect of reaping a rich harvest 
from panic prices. 

From the suburban towns, the homes of many of the 
prominent business men who are beggared by the fire, 
the scene was grand and terrible. Huge volumes of 
smoke rolled up from the burning buildings, while the 
horizon was as light as at midday. Occasionally the 
flames would throw themselves to a great height, and 
then the sight was truly magnificent. But there were 
few who could enjoy the scene ; there were too many 
anxious hearts, too many fort nnes at stake, the sup- 
port of too many families endangered. Those who 
were fortunate enough to secure transportation to the 



94 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION". 

city were surrounded on their return by an anxious 
crowd of inquirers — none of whom could sleep, and 
only passed the night in gloomy forebodings. Hun- 
dreds walked to the .city, and the thoroughfares and 
railroads were filled with pedestrians on Saturday 
night and all day Sunday, who were unable to reach 
the city by any other way. Many of these returned 
Sunday only to announce to their families the fact that 
they were utterly ruined, their property all gone, the 
accumulations of years of earnest toil, and industry 
scattered to the four winds of heaven in one single 
night. ' Others there were who returned with more 
cheerful tidings, and were received by their families 
* with expressions of gladness. Those, however, who 
witnessed the grand and terrible scenes of Saturday 
night from the suburbs, will never forget it ; the danger 
was, if anything, magnified by the distance, and the 
fearful rumors which were momentarily received raised 
the excitement to its highest pitch. 

The light of the fire was seen at a distance of a hun- 
dred miles, and it cast over the surrounding country a 
glare which seemed like the lurid light of a burning 
cauldron. The church steeples, and especially the 
dome of the State House, stood out in brilliant magnifi- 
cence, while every street which centered upon the vast 
conflagration was radient with the light of the great 
fire. 

The buildings destroyed were so vast, and erected of 
such heavy material, that the whole space over which 
the fire swept is literally choked with broken blocks 
of granite, fallen iron columns and huge masses of 



THE GREAT FIRE . ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 95 

bricks. In Chicago where the streets were wide and 
the' heat so intense as to -crumble marble and brick 
into powder, the thoroughfares were cleared with com- 
paratively little labor, where they were encumbered 
at all, which was seldom the case. But here the streets 
are narrow and crooked, and the buildings were com- 
posed of so much better material, that the wreck is 
much more difficult to get out of the way. All the 
streets after the fire were covered with the fallen ruins, 
so that it was impossible to take a horse and wagon 
anywhere in the burnt district, and the whole of the 
sixty acres were so thickly strewn with the debris that 
he who explored the area had to clamber over granite 
blocks, hot piles of bricks, and stumble against the 
projecting ends of iron columns half buried in the mass 
of rubbish. 

Most singular of all these fragments was in the case 
of the Purchase Street Church. This was an ancient 
edifice, built in the most solid manner of stone, but 
the sides had, nevertheless, fallen in, and the front 
wall, surmounted at the apex with a massive square 
stone tower, alone remained upright. This wall had, 
however, been eaten out at the top by the fire until 
the tower seemed perched in the air, balanced upon a 
single stone hardly three inches through. Every one 
who passed stopped to wonder at this marvel, and there 
was no one, probably, who did not expect to see the 
tower fall;, but it did not, nor did many others which 
seemed to have the least right to be remaining 
upright. 



96 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Hard Worh for the JVeivspaper Men, 

Newspaper men and telegraph operators had a bad ' 
time of it. Early in the foregoing evening there "had 
been a reunion of the members of the city press at 
the Revere House, and it had been attended by large 
numbers of the journalists, who were suddenly called, 
out to attend to business, which was far. from being 
congenial with the state of mind they were in. They 
hurried to and fro, gathering news and thinking of 
how to write it up, and when some of them returned 
to their places of labor, they found them burned to the 
ground, or requiring their immediate attendance to see 
about the removal of their appurtenances. Between 
four and five o'clock the Transcript office was on fire, 
and soon went down ; and the office of the Post, Globe, 
and Traveller, were in imminent peril of experiencing 
a like fate. The whole of Pearl street was in ruins, 
and in Washington street the heat was so intense that 
the firemen had to retreat before it. At the office of 
the Western Union Telegraph Company, which at six 
o'clock was yet untouched by fire, the operators had 
been forced to throw off their coats and work in their 
shirt sleeves, on account of the heat. At nine o'clock 
the buildings were yet being -blown up, but there 
seemed to be no hope of suppressing the fire in that 
way even, for their destruction seemed but to add fuel 
to the flames. Work went on till, at one o'clock, as the 
wind had died out, there seemed some likelihood of at 
length beating the fire, and at three o'clock it was 
certain that this* could be done. 



T1IE GREAT FIRE I ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 97 

The District Burned— Where the Fire Original 
Interesting Historical llcnuui scenes— The great 
Business Houses and • Institutions Destroyed. 

The locality in which the fire originated is all his- 
torical ground. There stood the houses of Edward 
Everett, and in the front corner, commanding a fine 
view of Summer street, towards the common, was the 
study wherein he was wont to slowly compose and 
elaborately polish his celebrated eloquent impromptus. 
The building was large and expensive, in those days 
dignified by the sounding title of c ' mansion." Even 
now it would pass muster in this city as the residence 
of some wealthy and cultivated gentleman, who cared 
more for solid comfort than pretentious show. The 
immediate neighborhood was inhabited by descendants, 
and in some instances founders, of the " best families." 
On the right of Mr. Everett's house stood that of Mr. 
John Tappan, brother of Arthur Tappan, the celebrated 
abolitionist, and so well known as intimately con- 
nected with him in his revolutionary movements. 
This house was set back from the sidewalk some forty 
feet, occupying the corner of Summer street, and run- 
ning back some ways along Arch court. It had in 
front a well kept garden, and behind a spacious yard. 
In its parlors could often be seen together the three 
brothers — Charles, Arthur and John — all equally 
engaged in abolition, though the two former were by 
far the most prominent. The latter was generally 
contented to be the " silent partner" and pay the 
Larger portion of the expenses < f the movement. At 
one time he, in common with many others of the more 






98 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

enthusiastic Bostonians, would use no sugar, as it was 
the product of slave labor. Only within a very few 
years was the old-fashioned building torn down, 
crumbling under the advance of business as its succes- 
sor has crumbled before the advance of business' 
master. Within a stone's throw stood the old house 
in which lived Mrs. John Hancock at the time she 
issued her celebrated order that her handmaidens 
should go forth and " milk all the cows upon the com- 
mon." In Arch court, a few feet below the termina- 
tion of John Tappan's grounds, was a library, old- 
fashioned and quaint as the locality in which it stood, 
partly on one side of the lane^ — it was no more than 
that — and partly above the arch which sprang across 
the street, giving it its name. 

Within the last few years, however, with the decease 
of the ancient residents came the removal of their 
descendants to Back Bay, and the removal of ancient 
landmarks themselves to the dilapidated Gehenna of 
contractors' rubbish. Tall buildings arose upon their 
sites extending from Washington street to Broad. 
Granite usurped the place of gardens, and Mansard 
roofs rose far higher than the superseded mansions 
ever durst' aspire. These buildings would remind one 
somewhat of the Equitable in New York city, though 
they were much less ornate, being for the most part of 
a plain, unrelieved surface. As the telegraph has told, 
they were occupied principally by large and extensive 
dealers. Summer street was one of the narrowest in 
that city of narrow streets, the roadway being not 
much more than thirty feet wide. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 99 



Pearl Street 

was the greatest boot and shoe market in the world — 
with the exception of a restaurant for boot and slide 
dealers, a newspaper devoted to the boot and shoe 
trade, and other establishments as intimately connec- 
ted with the business, there were no buildings on the 
street not occupied by merchants in this special line of 
trade. Here were the city headquarters of the vast 
manufactories of Lynn and the other leather towns on 
the line of the Eastern and other railroads going out 
from Boston, and the effects flowing from the destruc- 
tion of this street alone will be felt as much outside of 
the city as they will be in it. On Franklin, Chauncey, 
Summer, and the streets in their immediate vicinity, 
were the great establishments — depots of the mills 
throughout the Eastern States — that made Boston the 
leading market for American dry goods, and the 
destruction of the goods stored in these buildings will 
be felt quite as widely as will be that of the loss of 
the boot and shoe houses of Pearl street. 



Boston stands first 

among American cities in its receipts and sales of 
wool, and the dealers in this staple were clustered in 
the very heart of the burnt district. Here, too, were 
the wholesale dealers in iron, groceries, clothing, 
paper, fancy goods, stationery, books, and pictures, 
music and musical instruments, jewelry, tobacco, wines 
and liquors — in fact, in all the articles that are the 
necessities or luxuries of our modern civilized life. The 



100 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

great transportation companies had, too, their offices 
here and near by ; the city express companies had also 
branch offices. This mere sketch will serve to show 
how valuable were the contents of that portion of the 
city which is now in ashes. To give a particular 
description of all the buildings destroyed would be, of 
course, impossible, but a few of those, which were and 
are not, are worthy of special mention. 

Jordan, Marsh fy Co.'s Store. 

At the corner of Washington street and Central 
court was the elegant building occupied by Jordan, 
Marsh & Co., as a retail dry goods store. It had a 
fine front of dark freestone, eighty feet long on Wash- 
ington street and five stories high. The street floor 
and basement only were at first occupied by the firm. 
The second fhor was used as a wareroom by Chicker- 
ing & Sons, the rear being finished off into a beautiful 
hall, while the upper floors were let to lodgers. The 
whole building was, however, eventually occupied by 
the firm, and the wholesale department was removed 
from Devonshire street to a new building in the rear. 
The two structures covered a surface of from twenty 
thousand to twenty-three thousand square feet, and 
were connected by an excavated passage-way. Each 
building was furnished with a passenger and a freight 
elevator, all of them operated by a stationary engine 
in the passage way between the two buildings. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 101 

Macullar, Williams $ Parker. 

A magnificent marble structure on Washington 
street, built by the trustees of the Sears estate, was 
occupied by Macullar, Williams & Parker, for their 
great wholesale and retail clothing manufactory and 
salesroom. Its marble front was one of the finest in 
the country, and its internal arrangements were as 
perfect as its architecture. It was built especially for 
this firm, and was arranged to suit them. At the time 
it was erected, it was the largest building in the world, 
wholly devoted to the business of clothing manufacture. 
It fronted only forty feet on Washington street, but 
extended back to Hawley street two hundred and fifty 
feet, and was five stories in height. 

Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. 

The fine hall of the Massachusetts Charitable 
Mechanic Association stood upon the northwest corner 
of Bedford and Chauncey streets. This association, of 
which Paul llevere was the first president, had been 
agitating the question of erecting a hall for more than 
half a century before the steps were finally taken that 
resulted in the building of this structure. The land 
was bought in December, 1856, for $31,000. It 
fronts ninety-three feet on Chauncey street, and sixty- 
five feet on Bedford street. The building was imme- 
diately begun upon a plan designed by Ham matt 
Billings, and was completed and dedicated in March, 
1860, at a cost, including land, of about $320,000. It 
was constructed of dark freestone, in a modification of 



102 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

the Italian Renaissance style of architecture. The 
large hall and the accompanying rooms. on the second 
floor have for some time beep used by the Boston 
Board of Trade* and the National Board of Trade. 
Within the limits of that portion of the city over which 
the fire extended, was situated the office of one of the 
leading journals of Boston — 

The " Transcript." 

The office of the Boston "Transcript" was a hand- 
some granite structure, four stories high, with a double 
French roof above. As with most of the other Boston 
papers, the basement and street floor were reserved for 
press-room and business office, the second, third, and 
fourth floors were let, and the two upper floors were 
used as editorial and composing-rooms. The " Trans- 
cript" was the pioneer evening journal of Boston, and 
is, next to the "Advertiser," the oldest daily newspaper 
in the city. It was first published in July, 1830, and 
the senior partner of the original firm is still the head 
of the house. The experiment of an evening paper 
was for some time one of doubtful success, but the 
" Transcript" grew in popularity, and now no paper in 
Boston is more firmly established. During the more 
than forty years since its first publication, it has had' 
but four editors-in-chief, of whom the present editor is- 
now in the twentieth year of his service. The paper 
has always maintained a high tone, although, aside 
from its news matter, it has been chiefly devoted to 
literary gossip and criticism. 



THE GREAT FIKE : ITS ORIGIN AND PKOGKESS. 103 



THE HEAVY LOSERS. 

Alphabetical List of the Losers by the Fire, with the 
amounts in many cases. 

The following list shows the principal firms who 
sustained heavy losses by the fire : 

Abbott, Dexter. 
Aborn, Fay & Co. 
Allen, Lane & Co., $250,000. 
Anderson, Heath & Co., $400,000. 
Armstrong & Co., lithographers. 
Baldwin, S. P. 
Bailey & Jenkins, wool. 
Barnes, Ward & Co., $300,000. 
Brown, Dutton & Co., $300,000. 
Bowen, Moore & Co., $10,000. 
Bennett, B. F. & Folden. 
Brewer & Tiles ton, publishers. 
Bennett & Tilden. 
Beaver & Co., leather. 
Boone, Connell & Co., $75,000. 
. Brodenbrown, Steeper, Fisk & Co. 
Bliss, Whiting & McKenna, $100,000. 
Bramhall, Otis. 

Bothwell, Potter & Co., clothing. 
Brewer, A. & Co. 



104 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Brown, Lewis & Co., $50,000. 

Boyd, George W. & Co., $100,000. 

Boyce, Tuck & Co. 

Burr, Taft &.Co. 

Burrage, J. C. & Co., $200,000. 

Barr, Brothers & Co . trimmings. 

Burr, Brown & Co. 

Byas, E. C, $50,000. 

Bigelow, J. B,. 

Benedict & Barnliam. 

Banfield & Farwell. 

Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. 

Bliss, F. D. & Co. 

Brown, George B. & Co. 

Bingham, O. A. & Co. 

Coley & Co., commission. 

Clark, Geo. T., morocco. 

Chaffee & Whitney, $20,000. 

Champney Brothers & Co., $150,000. 

Chamberlain, Currier & Co., $100,000. 

Chandler & Boynton. 

Converse, Harding & Co., $300,000. 

Chick & Andrews. 

Cobb, Isaac B. 

Commonwealth, Bank of. 

Cushing & Blair, $75,000. 

Cook, J. B., cut glass. 

Cutler, E. P. 

Cooper, J., plumber. 

Clark & Warren. 

Damon, Temple & Co., $100,000. 



THE GREAT FIRE I ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. Iu5 

Danforth, Clark & Co., $250,000. 
Daggett, F. K. 
Despeaux, Blake & Co. 
Deming, Rice & Co. 
Denny, Rice & Co., $300,000. 
Dennison & Co., tags. 
Donahoe, P., Biston Pilot. 
Dubue, J. P. P. 
Dimphy, Phillips & Sherman. 
Eastern Express Company. 
Eager, Bartlett & Co., $200,000. 
Eugenie Chapine, $40,000. 
Emigrant's Saving Bank. 
Ellis, F. D. & Co. 
Ewing & Fujler, linens. 
Erving, Wise & Fuller, $56,000. 
Flint, Thomas & Co. 
Fisher, Sidney & Co. 
Franks, Wheeler & Co., trimmings. 
Farley, Anderson & Co., trimmings. 
Farwell, N. W. & Co., $50,000. 
Field, Thayer & Co. 
Flint & Claton. 
Flint & Hall. 

Freye, Phillips & Co., $200,000. 
French & Coffin, saddlery. 
Folsom, A. & Sons, $30,000. 
. Floyd Brothers & Co. 
Francis & Wallon. 
Gardner, Brewer & Co. 
Garrage Brothers. 



106 B( STON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Glazier, George M., $200,000. * 
Gordon, Poyen & Co. 
Goff, J. J. 

Goning & Grear, $75,000. 
Griswold, D. C, $200,000. 
Grinnell, C. B. & Sons. 
Grinell, B., $20,000, 
Hamilton, A. & Co. 
Hallowell & Coburn, $40,000. 
Hallo well, I. N. P. 
Harding, Brothers & Co., $250,000. 
Hager & Co. 

Hickley, William, straw goods. 
Heiyer & Bro., $200,000. 
Houghton, Perkins & Wood, $400,000. 
Hodge, Davis M. 
Holbrook, Floyd & Co. 
Hogan & Co. 
Hendrick & Co. 
• Holt, Twitchell & Co., leather. 
Home, J. C. & Co. 
Hewins, William & Peed. 
Homer & Wyoth, hides. 
Hosmer & Co. 
Hathaway, C. L. & Sons. 
Hilton & Co., wool. ' 

Hayden & Co. 
Headdock & Briof^s. 

DO 

Heanny, Cormeran & Co. 
Hood, M. C. & Co., shirts. 
Hoyt, Wheeler & Bradley. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 109 

Hathaway & Sons. 
Hilton & Co. 
Howe, Pierce & Co. 
Harrison, Clark & Andrews, crockery. 
Hepgood & Co., shoes. 
Hunt & Russell. 

Leeland, Allen & Bates, $300,000. 
Leonard, Rice & Co. 
Lovejoy, Gilbert & Co. 
Lowrey, N. & Co., carpets. 
Lenox, H. & Co. 
Lindsley & Gibbs. 
Lyons, D. & Co., $40,000. 
Lewis, Broom & Co., kid gloves. 
Lockwood & Clork, wool. 
Lampkin, Foster & Co. 
Leeds & Iloss. 

Lackborn, G. B. & Co., wool. 
Mann, Bowers & Sawyer. 
Moore, Andrew J. & Co. 
Mack, Hood & Co. 
Marr Brothers, $100,000. 
Marshall, J. P. & Bro. 
Maxlin, Mullan & Ellres, $200,000. 
Macintire, Laurie & Co., $150,000. 
Mason, Tuck & Co., $175,000. 
Mitchell, Green & Stevens, $250,000. 
Morse, Hammond & Co., $150,000. 
Miney, Beale & Hackett, $250,000. 
Messenger, E. F. & Co., $200,000. 
Miller & Tilson, shirts. 

7 



.0 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Melerdie, Hixon & Co. 

Morse, Johnson & Co. 

McEnnis, John & Co. 

Maxwell, John. 

Mandell, Dwinnal & Co. 

Marvin, S. R. & Sons, printers. 

Morse, Denny & Co., wool. 

Marion & Co., commission. 

Mitchell, Green & Stephens, clothing. 

New England Glass Co. 

New England Type Foundry. 

Nelson, A. M. & Co. 

Nichols & Miller, painters. 

Nichols, J. N. & Co. chemists. 

Niles, J. B. & &., printers. 

Nicholas & Sons. 

North, A. B. & Sons, $100,000. 

Ordway Brothers, millinery. 

Ordway, Blodgett & Co., $300,000. " 

Page Betting Co. 

Parker, Wilder & Co., $250,000. 

Parker, Nichols & Dupee, $100,000. 

Palmer, J. B. & Co. 

Phillips, Sampson & Co., $80,000. 

Parker & Co. 

Peck, A. D. & Co. 

Pierce, Hardy & Co., $200,000. 

Putnam, G. P. & Co. 

Pratt, E. B. & Co. 

Pratt, Albert S., $20,000. 

Prager, Boek & Co., $200,000. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS, ill 

Priest, C. C. & Co. 

Proctor, Thomas E. 

Price, Tuck & Co., thread. 

Porter Brothers, commission. 

Quinn, Daniel A. & Co. 

Pand, O. J. 

Peed & Bowen, commission. 

Powe & Waugh. 

Pichardson, Doyle & Co. 

Pichardson, Bird & Co. 

Phodes & Pipley, $150,000. 

Pichardson, Geo. C. & Co. 

Pice, Kendall & Co., paper. 

Pice, Goddard & Co., printers. 

Pogers & Co., $200,000. 

Pogers, J. L. & C. 

Say, Richard L. 

Sampson, Hall & Co., $75,000. 

Salomons, B. L. & Sons, $250,000. 

Sawyer, Mansfield & Co., $125,000. 

Safford, Nate & Wilson, $250,000. 

Sargeant Brothers & Co., $500,000. 

Simons Brothers, $100,000. 

Smith, Pichardson & Corson, $80,000. 

Smith, Stebbins & Co., $200,000. 

Skinner, James & Co., $20,000. 

Stewart, A. T. & Co , $200,000. 

Styles, Bale & Homer, $150,000. 

Seavey, Foster & Bowman, $125,000. 

Stephenson Brothers. 

Sticker Brothers, $75,000 



112 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Spagney, Thomas. 

Stows, Amariah & Co., cards. 

Sprague, Thomas & Co., saddlery. 

Spaulding, E. & Johnson. 

Soathwick & Sands. 

Spinner, W. B. & Co. 

San ford, Soule & Co. 

Sherberne & Co. 

Samuels, H., cigars. 

Tappan, J. H. A. & Co. 

Terrace & Milliken, $7,000. 

Tibbetts, Baldwin & Davis, $30,000. 

Tracy, J. II., Son'& Co. 

Tyler, Thomas H., $5,000. 

Tyler, James. 

Tyler, J. L. 

Tyler, J. S., trunks. 

Villa, James & Co. 

Walden Brothers. 

Walker, C. & Co. 

Walker, Joseph & Co. 

Washington Glass Works. 

Watson & Clark, painters. 

Watson, Geo. B. 

Way, Hewins & Reid. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 113 



THE INSURANCE. 

The Losses by the Great Companies and their Effect 
upon the Business. 

It is too early to state, or even estimate the insur- 
ance losses at Boston. Enough, however, is known to 
warrant the assurance that while the companies have 
received a severe blow, the majority of them will 
withstand the shock. The Chicago fire was a greater 
calamity than the catastrophe at Boston. Moreover, 
the losses were distributed over fewer companies. 
Now, as then, the strong companies will emerge with 
improved credit and distinction. They have been 
improving steadily since the Chicago fire, and, having 
received increased rates all over the country, are now 
in a better position to sustain the blow. As for the 
smaller companies, it will be found, in most cases, that 
the proportion of their losses to their resources is 
smaller than that of the companies which transacted 
an agency business. The lists which are given else- 
where, show the names of all companies which were 
regularly admitted to do business in Massachusetts. 
Of course the brunt of the disaster falls on them. 
But in addition to the companies which were regularly 
authorized to write risks in Massachusetts, it will be 
found that there are many other companies not so 
authorized, which have lost (though in most cases 
inconsiderably) on risks offered to them by brokers at 



114 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

their home offices. It is not unreasonable to suppose 
that nearly every stock insurance company in the 
United States has lost something, but the great bulk 
of the losses, it is to be remembered, falls upon the 
companies whose names appear in the lists as author- 
ized to do business in Massachusetts. These are as 
follows : 

American, New York, $80,000 

American, Exchange, . 10,000 

Arctic, 100,000 

Black River, .- 35,000 

Brewers' and Malsters', 50,000 

Capital City, none 

Citizens', New York, 250,000 

City, New York, 130,000 

Clinton, 50,000 

Columbia, 15,000 

Commercial, 80,000 

Eagle, none 

Gebhard, 22,500 

German-American, 100,000 

Germania, 275,000 

Glen's Falls, ,...>. 50,000 

Greenwich, 20,000 

Hamilton, none 

Hanover, 275,000 

Howard, none 

International, 300,000 

Jefferson, 10,000 

Kings County, 15,000 

Lafayette, 5,000 

Long Island, none 

Lorillard, 80,000 

Market, 60,000 

Manhatten, . 35,000 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 115 

Mechanics' 5,000 

Mechanics' and Traders', 25,000 

Nassau, none 

New York Equitable, 15,000 

New York, none 

Pacific, 15,000 

Relief, • 00,000 

Rutgers, none 

Standard,, 357,000 

Star, 150,000 

United States, 5,000 

Williamsburg City, 100,000 

Liverpool, London and Globe, .... 1,639,500 

Washington, N. Y., 90,000 

Farragut, 20,000 

Commerce, fi2,000 

Fireman's, 122,000 

Republic, 200,000 

Importers' and Traders', 32,000 

St. Nicholas, 15,000 

Westchester, 75,000 

Manufacturers' and Builders', .... none 

Lamar, heavy 

Exchange, . 15,000 

American Central, 15,000 

Farmers' of New York, ....... 5,000 

Lancaster, * none 

Pennsylvania Underwriters, 15,000 

Niagara, not over, 300,000 

Springfield, : 250,000 

Tradesmen's 240,000 

Traders', Chicago, 30,000 

Commerce,. Albany, 50,000 

Alps, . 34,000 

New York and Yonkers, 70,000 

Lancashire, 125,000 

National, New York, 140,000 



116 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Firemen's Trust, $5,000 

Amazon, 50,000 

Triumph, 50,000 

St. Paul Fire and Marine '. 20,000 

Girard, 50,000 

Globe, 15,000 

Moutauk, 5,000 

JEtna, Hartford, 150,000 

Hartford, 550,000 

Connecticut, 20,000 

Orient, 160,000 

National, of Hartford, 125,000 

Phoenix, Hartford, • 450,000 

Philadelphia Companies. 

North American, $900,000 

Franklin, 600,000 

Delaware Mutual, . . . ' 400,000 

Pennsylvania, 300,000 

State of Pennsylvania, '. 100,000 

Union Mutual, 34,000 

Fame, 20,000 

American, 300,000 

Girard, 50,000 

Total estimated and ascertained losses, . $2,104,000 



/ 



Suspensions. 



In New York, as a result of the fire, the Humboldt 
and International companies have suspended. In 
Philadelphia all will weather the storm safely. All 
the Providence, H. I., companies say they will come 
out straight. The American and Mercantile, of 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 117 

Boston, will go on. The Boylston must stop. The 
New Jersey companies lose only trifling amounts. 
The Continental Insurance Company of New York, 
has assets amounting to over $2,000,000 ; if the entire 
amount at risk within the district is a total loss, one- 
half of its surplus will pay for it. The loss of the 
Hartford companies will not exceed the following 
amounts: JEtna, $1,400,000; Hartford, $522,000 ; 
Phoenix, $500,000; National, $175,000; Orient, 
$170,000; Connecticut, $100,000; total $2,867,000. 
The iEtna officers think by salvage and over insur- 
ance deductions their loss will be reduced to $1,300,- 
000, and the National company think that theirs will 
be reduced to $150,000 from the same reductions. 
The amount at risk in the burned district exceeds the 
above figures somewhat in the case of most of the 
above companies, but allowing a very small percentage 
for salvage, it is confidently believed that the losses 
will not exceed the amounts named. All the Hartford 
companies are perfectly sound. The iEtna's assets on 
November 1st, were $5,000,000. The other companies 
are also in. good condition to meet all their losses. 

On General Business 

the fire has not, up to the hour at which this volume 
is <nven to the press, had the disastrous effect that was 
feared. Confidence is being rapidly restored, and all 
apprehension of a panic is now past. 



118 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

A Boston Voice. 

The Boston Advertiser sums up the fire and its re- 
sults, as follows : 

All the domestic wool in the city has been burned, 
and the total number of pounds of foreign and domes- 
tic fleece and pulled wool destroyed by the fire cannot 
fall short of 8,000,000 pounds, while the entire stock 
remaining in this market consists of foreign wool, and 
is less than 8,000 bales. The destruction of boots, 
shoes, and leather has been quite as complete as that 
of wool, although the stock of boots and shoes in 
warehouses is much lighter at this season than it 
would have been about a month later, and the loss will 
consequently be less to the owners. Besides this, 
large quantities of boots, shoes, and leather were 
saved, which will materially lighten the loss of the 
sufferers. The wholesale clothing houses, with one or 
two exceptions, were completely burned, although a 
considerable quantity of goods were saved, and the 
stocks on hand were not very large. With a very 
few exceptions all the commission dry goods houses 
are burned to the ground, not even the walls of the 
buildings being left standing. The destruction of the 
jobbing houses has been nearly complete, and the 
agent of the largest mills in the country says that but 
one of all his customers in the city has a place left for 
business. The fire did not reach that portion of the 
city occupied by the provision, produce, and flour and 
grain trade, nor were there any losses to the fish or 
salt dealers, and but slight damage to the wholesale 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 119 

grocers. None of the hotels have been destroyed, and 
the railroads, with the exception of the Hartford 
and Erie, have not suffered, as the fire did not extend 
in that direction. There is not likely to be any such 
serious interruption to business as a view of the burned 
district would at first suggest, and with characteristic 
energy, a large number of the merchants who have 
been burned out have secured rooms and offices, and 
will resume business at the usual hour on Monday 



morning. 



All the Old Boot and Shoe 

and commission firms are solvent, and even strong as 
before the fire, and by their solvency will preserve to 
Boston, unimpaired, their very valuable line of busi- 
ness. Very many of the jobbing firms also in the 
same line came out of the fire witli large losses, it is 
true, but able to meet all their engagements, and to 
continue their business. The same may be said in 
general terms of the large manufacturers and dealers 
in clothing. Their stocks in hand are consumed, but 
their surplus of assets in bills and amounts receivable, 
together with what insurance they may be able to re- 
cover,- will save them. That there will be failures in 
several of the leading lines of business is probable, 
but in the ca-e of many firms, we believe, it will be 
found that after a suspension of payments until 
they can ascertain how much of their insurance can 
be realized, they will resume payments and go on as 
before. 

The area of the burnt district will be found, when 



120 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

carefully estimated, slightly to exceed sixty-four acres, 
or 2,787,840 square feet. Deducting the space covered 
by streets, the area occupied by buildings is a little 
less than two million square feet. The structures did 
not cover all the remaining space ; but assuming that 
they did, and they were worth $10 per square foot, the 
entire loss in buildings will amount to $20,000,000, an 
estimate to the correctness of which we have the testi- 
mony of many sagacious holders of real estate. The 
total number of buildings consumed may roughly be 
stated at about seven hundred. The loss in merchan- 
dise is set by the most competent experts at not over 
three times the amount of the loss of buildings, it 
bein^ borne in mind that in a number of streets the 
structures were used principally for offices, and con- 
tained nothing very valuable, and that in many ware- 
houses the stocks of merchandise were low, some of 
the dry goods commission houses, for example, having 
hardly any goods in store. 



T1IE GREAT FIRE : 1T6 ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 121 



AMONG THE CINDERS. 
The Feeling among the Sufferers. 

As sufferers by the fire become better acquainted 
with the nature and extent of their losses, the feeling 
of confidence grows stronger. The salvage is found 
to vary from fifteen to sixty per cent, in proportion to 
the loss, and as schedules of property are being made 
out with promptness, and policies and proofs of loss 
are in some cases already in, the work of adjustment 
will be an easy matter. Many of the policy holders 
in Boston offices have expressed their intention of re- 
turning to their favorite companies when they shall 
have obtained new charters, and are able to take new 
risks. The loss among the mutual offices in this city 
will fall heavily upon a class that can ill afford to meet 
their premium notes. A. careful estimate shows that 
between seventy and eighty per cent, of the total 
amount of insurance effected in the burnt district will 
be at once paid. • 

Unprotected Property. 

On Monday morning there were $308,000,00:) 
worth of property left uninsured by the bankruptcy 
of the companies which protected it on Saturday, and 
some of the parties interested are carrying their own 
risks until new companies can be formed and char- 
tered. 



122 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

Opening the Safes. 

A large number of the safes opened to-day contained 
nothing but ashes. This was the case with safes of 
various makers. The safe of Palmer, Batchelder & 
Co., extensive jewellers, on Washington street, which, 
when the fire was approaching the store, was filled 
with watches and much valuable jewelry, there being 
no time to take them to a place of safety, was found 
to contahi, when opened, melted gold, and the safe of 
a safe-manufacturing company also contained, when 
opened, nothing but cinders. The contents of the 
brick vaults have, as a general thing, been found to be 
all right. Some considerable loss has been occasioned 
by the opening of the safes too soon. 

Temporary Occupancy of Fort Hill. 

The lands on the Fort Hill territory asked for by 
the shoe and leather dealers burned out, for temporary 
buildings, have been granted by the city authorities. 
The structures must be fire-proof, and not over twenty 
feet high. Occupancy is given from the 1st of Decern 
ber to the 1st of June next, the lessees to pay six per 
cent, per annum on the assessed value of the land. 

Recovered from Thieves. 

• 

That thieves from some quarter operated diligently 
during the fire is shown conclusively, by the fact that 
beween $300,000 and $t00,000 worth of stolen prop- 
erty was recovered by the police officers within five 
days after the fire. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 123 

The Tempoj^ary Post Office. 

The work of remodelling the venerable and sacred 
old South Church for a temporary post office, to be 
used until the new post office is ready for occupancy, 
will be immediately begun. It will be entirely over- 
hauled, and its familiar look will forever disappear. 
It is now the intention of the pew owners to dispose 
of it, so soon as the postal department gets through 
with it, for business purposes. So another old Boston 
landmark is doomed. Probably before long the old 
State House will be removed, and ten years hence no 
one will be able to find, except in the guide books or 
city histories, any reminder of the Boston of the carry 
days. The new post office cannot be occupied for a 
long season, for a large portion of it must be rebuilt. 
The terrible heat of the flames which raged around it 
on every side has cracked and crumbled the granite of 
the vast pavilions of the Milk and Water street facades. 
It is said that arrangements will doubtless be made for 
extending the edifice to Congress street, thus covering 
the entire square. In this event it is proposed to make 
Congress street a grand avenue seventy-five or a hun- 
dred feet wide, extending from State street to one of 
the new bridges across Fort Point Channel. A broad 
belt across the city would thus be given, where a suc- 
cessful stand could be made against a fire. Should 
this broad "Phoenix avenue" be constructed, and the 
post office building be extended, the principal front 
would be on that side and the United States Courts 
probably located in the extension. Should this be 



124 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

done, and the proposed Central Exchange and the 
new County Court House be located on the same 
avenue, there would be a noble group of fire-proof 
buildings, which would be as effectual a protection to 
the neighborhood as was the new post office to the 
buildings around it. 

Removing the Ruins. 

The experiment of blowing up the wall of W. H. 
Gleson's granite building, in the square formed by the 
junction of Summer and High streets, proved per- 
fectly successful The first charge, of five pounds, 
was effective in blowing out the northerly w T all only, 
but the second charge, of twelve pounds (one pound 
to a cartridge), lifted the massive walls from their 
foundations, and they dropped perpendicularly into 
the cellar and upon the sidewalk, scarcely a stone 
verging from a direct downward course so far as to fall 
into the street. 

A Safe with $150,000 in it intact. 

The safe of Westcott & Co., on High street, was 
recovered and its contents of $150,000 found unin- 
jured, after sixty-two hours' exposure to the intense 
heat. The locality had been guarded by a detach- 
ment of dragoons. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 127 

What is said of Mansard Roofs. 

The fury against the Mansards is especially general 
and violent, and the intense feeling has found ade- 
quate expressions in the various journals. Upon 
this subject, the Advertiser says : 

" The French architect, Mansard, is liable to have 
some injustice done to him by our careless way of 
speaking of the work which boars his name. The 
peculiarity of his roof was the curve which lie gave 
to a style of roof-structure much older than himself 
of which our ancient gambrel roof was one modifica- 
tion. The Mansard curve is, we believe, now little 
used, and is not in favor with architects generally. 
But the name sticks to the kind of roof which lie only 
modified, without regard to the shape, or to the mate- 
rials of which it is made. Now, it is certain that the 
real Mansard roof, built of iron or of incombustible 
wood, might not be objectionable on account of any pe- 
culiar exposure from fire, and also that the innumerable 
modifications, which Mansard himself would never 
have recognized, built of inflammable materials, and 
beyond the reach of ordinary engines, are the real 
offenders in our case, against which every citizen 
who. wishes to sleep in peace and security should wage 
unceasing war." 

But these expressions are quite mild, compared with 
those of the Post, which cries " Down with the Man- 
sards," in this vigorous style : 

" Looking over what there remains of B >ston, one 
marvels that the fire did not go on forever. A view 



124 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

done, and the proposed Central Exchange and the 
new County Court House be located on the same 
avenue, there would be a noble group of fire-proof 
buildings, which would be as effectual a protection to 
the neighborhood as was the new post office to the 
buildings around it. 

Removing the Ruins. 

The experiment of blowing up the wall of W. H. 
Gleson's granite building, in the square formed by the 
junction of Summer and High streets, proved per- 
fectly successful The first charge, . of five pounds, 
was effective in blowing out the northerly wall only, 
but the second charge, of twelve pounds (one pound 
to a cartridge), lifted the massive walls from their 
foundations, and they dropped perpendicularly into 
the cellar and upon the sidewalk, scarcely a stone 
verging from a direct downward course so far as to fall 
into the street. 

J. Safe ivith $150,000 in it intact. 

The safe of Westcott & Co., on High street, was 
recovered and its contents of $150,000 found unin- 
jured, after sixty-two hours' exposure to the intense 
heat. The locality had been guarded by a detach- 
ment of dragoons. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 127 

M licit is said of Mansard Roofs. 

The fury against the Mansards is especially general 
and violent, and the intense feeling has found ade- 
quate expressions in the various journals. Upon 
this subject, the Advertiser says : 

" The French architect, Mansard, is liable to have 
some injustice done to him by our careless way of 
speaking of the work which bears his name. The 
peculiarity of his roof was the curve which he gave 
to a style of roof-structure much dlder than himself 
of which our ancient gambrel roof was one modifica- 
tion. The Mansard curve is, we believe, now little 
used, and is not in favor with architects generally. 
But the name sticks to the kind of roof which he only 
modified, without regard to the shape, or to the mate- 
rials of which it is made. Now, it is certain that the 
real Mansard roof, built of iron or of incombustible 
wood, might not be objectionable on account of any pe- 
culiar exposure from fire, and also that the innumerable 
modifications, which Mansard himself would never 
have recognized, built of inflammable materials, and 
beyond the reach of ordinary engines, are the real 
offenders in our case, against which every citizen 
w T ho. wishes to sleep in peace and security should wa<*e 



unceasing war." 



But these expressions are quite mild, compared with 
those of the Post, which cries " Down with the Man- 
sards," in this vigorous style : 

" Looking over what there remains of B >ston, one 
marvels that the fire did not go on forever. A view 



8 



128 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

from the housetop reveals a forest of Mansard roofs? 
stretching up angles and towers, and cornices of sea- 
soned wood, like so many hands rapacious to clutch 
the flames. Tawdry with meretricious products of the 
jig-saw and the machine lathe, incrusted with a pro- 
fusion of jumbled ornaments chiselled out of white 
pine, and supported by wondrously wrought pillar and 
capital, and frieze of the same material, they sit atop 
of lordly granite block?, like the old man of the sea, 
to ride them to the death. Each paltry scroll offers a 
position for the flying brand to rest and be fanned 
into flame. Each boss, each panel, and each individual 
outrage of architectural detail that fondly clings to the 
Mansard roof presents a seat for the spark borne on 
the wind, and a veritable coign of vantage for the 
long leaping flames. Once grasped, the fire will not 
leave the Mansard for a deluge, but revels and riots 
there, and sends out fresh emissaries of destruction to 
the detestable kindred far and wide. The thousands 
who enjoyed the mournful privilege of witnessing the 
great fire of "November 9th, saw the Mansard in its 
glory. Far up in a Mansard roof, beyond the reach of 
the hardest puffing engine, the fire first -asserted its 
power. It spread along over the stout granite beneath. 
It leaped the streets and licked up a block of Mansards 
on the other side. From housetop to housetop it sped, 
compelling all beneath it to aid in the chase, until the 
name of the architect of Louis XIV. was written in 
the shattered and smoking ruins of Boston's noblest 
edifices. An acre of pine wood goes to make the 
Mansard roof of one of our fine modern blocks, and a 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 129 

fine fire it makes. This is no fancy or prejudice, and 
we rejoice to learn that the property owners are taking 
measures to insure the absence of this abomination in 
any structures to be erected on their land There is 
little to be said for the Mansard as regards architectural 
beauty, when constructed in the cheap and tawdry 
manner usual; and if these roofs may not he built of 
honest and enduring material, as is the case of that 
now going up on the new post office, we doubt not 
that the community will join in the cry of ' Down 
with the Mansards ! ' " 



The Relief Movement. 

The Relief Bureau, in the Chardon street City 
Building, found more business than it expected. 
About five hundred people were receiving aid. Nearly 
every case was one of utter destitution, but all that the 
greater part of the sufferers asked was time. They 
were mostly of the sturdy working class, and so soon 
as they got a lift could abundantly take care of them- 
selves. The applications was for food, clothing, or fur- 
niture, and these were promptly granted. The members 
of the Bureau estimate that at least 4,000 people had 
been deprived of homes, and that the greater portion 
of those, with many others, would be forced to apply 
to them for aid during a large part of the approach- 
ing winter. The total number of killed in the fire is 
given as only nine, five of whom are unknown. But this 
is probably an undor-estimate, for there are a number of 
missing men and children, who, it is generally believed, 



130 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

perished in the fire, or are buried under the ruins. The 
number of seriously and slightly injured was stated 
to be not over a dozen or fifteen. One of the seriously 
injured firemen, Albert C. Abbott, of Charlestown, 
was to have been married on Thanksgiving day: his 
brother, Louis Porter Abbott, was missing, and was 
supposed* to be buried in the ruins on Washington 
street. He left three little children in the care of his 
a^ed and widowed mother. 



o 



Aid from Abroad to be Accepted. 

The Citizen's Relief Committee, at their meeting 
rejected a resolution, offered by Mr. Gray, .the Presi- 
dent, declaring that while the City of Boston was 
profoundly grateful to the people of ail parts of the 
country who had extended their sympathy, and ten- 
dered their assistance to it in its calamity, it is able to 
recover from its great loss without assistance from * 
abroad. Mr. Gray, in moving the resolution, said, 
that when the telegram of the Mayor was sent to the 
Mayors of other cities on Monday, informing them 
that pecuniary assistance would be gratefully received, 
the extent of the calamity was not known, and the 
ability of the city to meet it was not comprehended. 
The objection to the passage of the resolution was 
mainly made ' by Nathan Matthews, Mayor Gaston, 
Josiah Quincy, and others, who contended that the 
merchants of the city cannot afford to relieve the 
sufferers, and consequently relief must come from 
abroad. A substitute resolution, announcing that 



THE GREAT FIRE I ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 131 

pecuniary aid would be gratefully received, was almost 
unanimously passed, and an Executive Committee was 
appointed to take charge of the funds received. Com- 
mittees from Philadelphia, Chicago, and other western 
cities were present. The Chicago Committee insisted 
that its hundred thousand dollars should be accepted, 
whether the resolution rejecting aid was passed or 
not. 

Aid to he Accepted, 

The following resolution was passed at the meeting 
of the Citizens' Relief Committee : 

Resolved, That the Committee on behalf of the citi- 
zens of Boston return most sincere and hearty thanks 
to their fellow-citizens, in all parts of the Union, for 
the warm expressions of sympathy which have been 
tendered at this time of calamity, and for the friendly 
offers of pecuniary aid which they have made, and that 
their friendly offers be and they are hereby accepted. 

(Signed,) Wm. Gray, Chairman. 

The resolution to accept contributions from other 
cities will afford immediate relief to many poor fami- 
lies who lost their all, and to thousands of persons 
thrown out of employment. The noble generosity 
exhibited all over the country is calling forth thanks- 
giving from thousands of grateful hearts. 



132 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 



THE STARTLING NEWS. 

How it was received throughout the Country. 

The news of the terrible blow which had fallen on 
the greatest of the old New England cities was re- 
ceived throughout the entire breadth of the land with 
incredulity at first; but as the full truth of the fright- 
ful disaster broke upon the people, all were aroused 
as by an earthquake. Men in every city rushed to 
their places of business to learn if they had lost their all. 
The papers were read with even quarrelsome avidity 
to find what and how much had been destroyed. The 
hotels, the clubs, the telegraph- offices were filled with 
excited beings, all brimming over with one absorbing 
topic. The insurance companies opened their offices 
as on week days, and, in fact, the scene in every sec- 
tion was one universal pandemonium, in which self- 
interest was all predominant. 

In New York, 

on Sunday, the 10th, the startling intelligence created 
the wildest excitement, which was largely intensified 
by later despatches announcing that the entire city of 
Boston was threatened with destruction. Hundreds 
who had before on previous Sabbaths resorted to the 



1HE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 133 

churches to listen to the eloquent dissertations of their 

popular clergyman, for once gave him the cut direct, 
and, instead of devoutly wending their way to their 
plush-covered pews, hurried to the newspaper offices 
in anticipation of later particulars. The bulletin 
boards had a large number of readers, and the lobbies 
of the hotels presented an appearance of life and ac- 
tivity seldom equalled on the Sabbath. Persons who 
had friends in the strickened city, without waiting for 
their steaks, swallowed their coffee hurriedly and re- 
paired to the telegraph offices to communicate with 
them by means of electricity, and the look of anxiety 
that was visible on their countenances clearly showed 
that such a catastrophe as that which had fallen upon 
the Hub thrilled the hearts of thousands in sister 
cities. The general remark was "Great God, this is 
fearful! When will our turn come? The fire god 
has laid Chicago and Boston under contribution. Will 
it be Mew Yoik, Philadelphia or Washington next !" 
The vicinity of the telegraph office was the centre of 
attraction for the masses, and the struggling for place 
and position near the desks was as fierce and as violent 
as though each man's life depended upon getting his 
despatch to the operator. Indeed, at one time, late 
in the evening, the anxious ones, whose all in the 
world probably depended upon the direction the lire 
had taken since the night previous, and who wore de- 
sirous to learn independently of the newspapers what 
hope was really left them, fought among themselves 
like crazy men to get their despatches off first. It was 
in vain that the operatives protested that they already 



134 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

had hundreds of despatches lying on their desks await- 
ing their turn ; no one would take " No" for an answer, 
and every one insisted — some with wild profanity, 
others pleadingly, almost with tears in their eyes — 
that his particular despatch was the first handed in 
and should consequently be sent first. While chairs 
were being overturned, and the general confusion 
made worse confounded by the struggling of the 
crowds, certain of the operatives were busily engaged 
in calling out the names of those persons for whom 
they had received despatches from Boston. It was 
really painful to see with what brutal violence each 
one whose name was called, and who happened to be 
present, dashed his way through the crowd, and to 
witness the wild, eager look that came over his coun- 
tenance as he nervously tore open the envelope, and 
with staring eye and bated breath glanced over the 
contents. One only had to watch the faces of these 
men to learn where the hope was crushed, and where 
ruin was beyond a doubt. 



In Philadelphia 

the picture presented was as sad and startling as 
that to be seen when the Queen City of the West was 
being reduced to ashes. So startling in connection 
with Boston above all cities, had been the first rumor 
of a gigantic fire sweeping up within its colossal arms 
of flame, the interests not only of individuals, but of 
an entire city, that the first impulse was astonishment, 
then, soon after, came the second impulse of curiosity. 



TIIE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 135 

Then came that sympathy that, in our American 
Republic, springs in the presence of a great misfor- 
tune — that co-holds the throne with curiosity, and that 
finally ends in that grand exhibit of national generosity 
which, sooner or later, flows to relieve the ruin of a 
sister American city and the wants of a sister American 
community. It would not be easy to calculate the 
number of people stopping at the bulletin-boards, the 
crowd generally would be too large for all to see within 
a reasonable time. Then came the reading aloud. 
Sometimes, at the board, or at the corners it was one 
who knew Boston. To-day such an one's words were 
golden. When he vouchsafed a remark as to the 
character of the burned district — as to the safety .of 
certain parts of the city well known to himself — as to 
the probability that certain prominent commercial 
firms and business firms, known only to himself, were 
in the fire-limits, or had barely escaped them, the crowd 
listened as unto a prophet. The more intimately 
acquainted he was with the highways and byways of 
the city, the more reverently he was listened to. It 
was cheap to get up a comer-reputation just then. 
Say only that you knew where Summer, Federal, State, 
Washington, and Bedford streets were, and you had 
the crowd stationary in transitu. There were many 
that held the throng in this manner. Others there 
were, however, who, knowing Boston well, revealed a 
darker tale. They belonged to the city; their fami- 
lies were there. Mere curiosity did not move them, 
but an active, keenly anxious interest in the blow that 



136 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

has struck a great city with which we are affiliated 
in the "hooks of steel" of a common nationality. 

The comments on the streets began generally with 
the great fire of Chicago in 1871. One must always 
have in real life as in algebra, some known quantity 
to begin with. The moment the first reports of the 
Boston fire were announced, people began to speak of 
Chicago. That fire had been so lately devastating a 
great city of the West, that when another fire began, 
no one knew how, gathering its forces no one could 
tell whence, struck the great city of the extreme north- 
east, the public mind at one quick bound connected 
the two. People talked of the association in the 
streets, and when walking along. It beats the Chicago 
fire, seemed generally the impression. . Among the 
insurance men the anxiety was painful to behold. 
Most of the large offices held behind their closed doors 
a number of frightened officers, from presidents clown 
through the. various grades of vice presidents, actuaries, 
directors, and even clerks, all having a moneyed inter- 
est in the despatches arriving from the stricken city. 
Chestnut street and the Continental Hotel were 
crowded with men representing this line of business. 
Among the dealers in money the general fear was 
expressed that the banks and money lenders would 
enact the same ill-advised role of last year, viz.: the 
sudden and universal demand upon their debtors to 
pay at once, and to the uttermost farthing, what they 
owed. This course, which increased the widespread 
disaster which necessarily ensued upon the Chicago 
fire, without attaining any corresponding good end, was 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 137 

feared and deprecated. It was clearly to be seen that 
the great fire had touched the city to the heart. Filled 
with sympathy with one of the historic cities of the 
Union, deeply feeling the loss to human life and the 
destruction of property, whether meeting on the street 
or in the places of assembly, the citizens, in breathing 
a wish for the security of Boston, had not forgotten the 
prayer that the wofnl calamity of fire might not fall 
upon their own city of Philadelphia. 

In Washington 

the entire community were startled by the news of 
the conflagration. Men rushed wildly through the 
streets, and the desire to learn further particulars was 
intense, especially among citizens of Massachusetts, 
including Secretary Boutwell. Hundreds of them 
daring the day thronged the offices of the telegraph 
companies in pursuit of further intelligence. Maps of 
the city of Boston were produced in order to trace the 
limits of the burned district, and the explanations 
given by those familiar with the locality — Secretary 
Boutwell among the number — increased the general 
interest. Crowds also gathered at the hotels where 
the despatches received from time to time were the 
subject of comment. The excitement was at least as 
great as at the time of the Chicago fire. Extras, giv- 
ing the latest details, were issued by the leading news- 
papers, and were eagerly purchased by all classes of 
the community. 



138 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 



In Chicago, 

only thirteen months ago herself almost laid in 
ashes, the fated news from the Queen of Massachusetts 
and New Englard was received with feelings of deep 
sympathy and profound regret. 

The confirmation of the dire intelligence caused 
universal excitement. Crowds of citizens thronged 
the sidewalks and besieged the newspaper offices. 
The Chicago Bostonian element, numbering several 
thousands, felt the blow with even keener force than 
those who were not natives of the doomed city. The 
disaster was discussed in all its forms, local, general, 
monetary and commercial. Insurance men, merchants, 
builders, bankers and grain shippers paused aghast at 
the frightful spectacle of another American emporium 
swept into utter ruin thirteen months after the burn- 
ing of old Chicago. Men said that war could hardly 
have brought more destruction along with it, and the 
causes which, in a solidly built city, could have led to 
so tremendous a catastrophe. In a word, the disaster 
brought back to every mind the awful days of Chica- 
go's own fiery trial, and it required little effort of the 
imagination to picture the blazing roofs, the exploding 
walls, the waters of river and bay lurid with the furious 
flames, the overwhelming gale, sweeping the shoals of 
sparks and cinders in its track, the burning shipping, 
the tolling of the alarm bell, the vain efforts of police 
and firemen, the affrighted populace flying in disordered 
mass before that irresistible foe, the ruined merchants 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. 139 

and the outlying fire departments crowding into the 
suburbs to aid their Boston brethren in fighting back 
the flames. The ninth of October, 1871, seemed to 
come again, and, with that coming arose in the minds of 
the Chicago citizens grateful memories of the generous 
deeds of Massachusetts' capital in the day of their afflic- 
tion. The hotels were thronged and maps were every- 
where in requisition, while each telegram that arrived, 
mentioned old land marks forever swept away. The 
trains going east were filled with New Englanders, 
hurrying to their much-loved metropolis, to aid, by 
work and word, the thousands of their friends made, 
for the time being at least, desolate, if not despond- 



ing. 



In Indianapolis. 



the tidings of the terrible calamity caused universal 
sadness. But there was one class of citizens to whom 
the subject was one of deep personal interest. The 
representatives of the large Eastern fire insurance 
companies heard the news with blanched cheeks and 
fast beating hearts, for who of them could tell how 
their companies, already crippled by the Chicago fire, 
would bear this fresh blow] And the business men 
of the city generally reflected with no pleas ant feelings 
upon the effects of the probable withdrawal of the 
vast capital which these companies have invested. 
These and similar reflections contributed to deepen 
the general gloom, and Indianapolis was a sad city. 



140 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

In Detroit 

the news caused almost as great excitement on the 
streets as did the Chicago fire. Although the citizens 
of Detroit generally, are not so familiar with Boston 
as with Chicago, there are, nevertheless, very many 
who have personal friends there, and are more or less 
acquainted with the city, and many more who have 
business relations with the merchants of Bostor?. 
Detroit is more intimately connected with Boston in 
business relations than with almost any other city on 
the continent. Aside from the thrilling and terrible 
nature of the catastrophe, it was natural, then, that 
the people should feel an intense interest. The partic- 
ulars were eagerly read, and produced a great excite- 
ment. The terrible nature of the catastrophe was the 
subject of comment by most of the ministers on Sun- 
day, in their sermons, and a shadow of profound anx- 
iety and sorrow rested upon every face. Early in the 
day, crowds of people besieged the telegraph and 
newspaper offices for further particulars. But such 
news as was received rather tencTed to increase than 
to allay the excitement, which soon rose to fever heat. 
Never before or since, except on the receipt of the 
news of the assassination of President Lincoln and of 
the Chicago fire, was seen such a profound sensation 
and such painful anxiety. Throughout the entire day 
the streets in the vicinity of the telegraph offices and 
the bulletin boards were thronged with an eager, 
surging crowd. 



THE GREAT FIRE: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. Ml 

In Hart ford 

crowds thronged through the streets, flocking around 
the bulletin boards, the most eager curiosity depicted 
on their countenances. Business men were almost 
wild, for well they knew that the great insurance in- 
terests of Hartford were again put to the test; persons 
holding insurance stocks were seriously affected, and 
seized with avidity upon every fresh piece of news 
that arrived. The feeling was even more intense, if 
possible, than at the time of the Chicago fire, because 
then there was a sense of security felt in all the com- 
panies, which had large surpluses ; but now the com- 
panies were but just rallying from the terrible losses 
of that great fire, and there was more uncertainty felt. 
Besides, stockholders became all the more nervous in 
consequence of not being able to ascertain whether the 
companies were largely interested or not in Boston 
risks. 

In Springfield, Massachusetts, 

on the night when the flame first burst forth to 
soon sweep away block after block, despatches floated 
across the wires every few minutes, detailing the rapid 
march of the fire demon, and the deepest sympathy 
was expressed by all, as one well known street after 
another was known to have been left a mass of ruins. 
Telegraph repairers, with all the wire and tools they 
could lay hands on, were sent forward* by the Young 
Owl train. At four o'clock Sunday morning the wires 
ceased working, and did not resume until after the 



142 BOSTON AND ITS DESTRUCTION. 

company's office at Boston had been abandoned, and • 
new connections were made and a temporary office 
had been opened in another part of the city. About 
ten o'clock the bulletin boards announced to the early 
church-goers the startling facts of the fire, and for the 
remainder of the day eager crowds blockaded the side- 
walk, and at times the streets, anxious to learn what 
friend and relative had been ruined and how fared the 
light. At the churches strong amens responded to 
fervent prayers that the progress of the devouring 
element might be stayed. 

Firemen and insurance agents dashed excited about 
the streets, the former snuffing their enemy afar off, 
and only restrained by the wisdom of their chief from 
a general stampede to the fire. As the train arrived 
at the Boston depot, the depot was thronged; men 
struggled to get on the cars only to be pushed off on 
the other side of the platfrom ; the train men were 
bewildered by a thousand meaningless questions, and 
the commotion and roar of the multitude drowned even 
the noise of the train. Still the spirit of Chicago 
animated the sufferers of Boston, and more men 
laughed than cried or looked sad, from the revulsion 
of the tremendous calamity. Since the war there was 
no such scene witnessed. 

In every other city of the Union the excitement 
was intense. The insurance men, the investors in 
Boston real estate, the financial men, and the resi- 
dents absent at the time, were beyond doubt the most 
alarmed, and will never care to remember the calamity 
only as a horrible dream. 



We have issued two beautiful Chronio- Lithographs, 
" Companion Pictures," size, 10x24 inches. 
One, The City of 

CHICAGO AS IT WAS, 



AND THE OTHER 



©Hl©4^@) WS W&AMM 



These are correct views of the ill fated City of Chicago ; one, representing the city 
as it appeared before the fire; and the other, on the nights of October 8th and 9th, 1871, 
when wrapped in flames. These pictures, as gems of art, cannot be surpassed, drawn 
and executed by Duval & Hunter, who are so widely known throughout the country 
the very best chromo-lithographers in the United States. We have in the first of these 
pictures the CITY OF CHICAGO, looking from the lake, as she stood in all her glory, 
the wonder of the world. Here we see her magnificent buildings, great grain elevators, 
immense passenger and freight depots of the railroads that centre there, whose vast 
net-work of rails cover the city and environs like a huge grid-iron. We see the city 
as it was and will never appear again, for in this age of advancement, new Chicago 
will be vastly different from the old, which makes this view of her past glory all the 
more valuable. 

THE CITY OF CHICAGO IN FLAMES is awfully grand. There is always grandeur 
in a large fire, though it be attended with loss of life, destruction of property, and 
consequent misery. Fire is our greatest enemy, when allowed to get beyond our 
control ; likewise our best friend, when we are able to keep it within its proper limit. 
How awfully grand was this the greatest conflagration of modern times, when, in a few 
hours, five miles of the doomed city were swept away, millions of dollars worth of 
property destroyed, hundreds of the inhabitants burned to death, thousands rendered 
homeless and penniless, who a few hours before were living in affluence. No one can 
picture all the misery that has been cast upon the people of Chicago, or form any idea 
of the immensity of this great calamity, but those who saw and experienced it. From 
this picture we get a clear idea of this destruction, "sketched by an artist who was 
an eye-witness." Here we see the devouring element reaching forth its outstretched 
arms and lapping up with lurid tongue the great city ; first, house by house, and this 
not satisfying its thirst for destruction, it laps up block after block of the most magnifi- 
cent buildings in the world, which are crumbled and crushed by this groat mora 
until the most valuable portion of the city is a heap of smouldering ruins. 

These views are invaluable as souvenirs of the greatest fire that ever visited any 
city of the known world. The publishers feel, in presenting these beautiful chromos, 
that they are furnishing that which every family will desire to possess, and have isa 
them in a convenient and handsome size, on paper 19x24 inches, at the following low 
prices : 

VIEW OF CHICAGO AS IT WAS, - - $1.00 

VIEW OF CHICAGO IN FLAMES, - - 100 

To whom are granted the most liberal terms. 

Union Publishing Co., 



PRINTED IN ENGLISH AND GERMAN. 

HISTORY OF THE GREAT CONFLAGRATION. 




ftttttt ii fill 



To which is added a carefully prepared statement of all the Great 

Historical Fires of the World, and a full and detailed account 

of the Fires of the Northwest, 

BY JAS W. SHEAHAN AND GEO. P. UPTON, 

In presenting this work to the public the Publishers, in connection with the 
Authors, intend to furnish a Complete History of Chicago from its earliest period, 
when a Ilude Cabin marked the site upon which afterward grew a mighty city, tracing 
year after year its gre it growth. They have sketched the little " FORT DEARBORN" 
on the river, from which the city took its name, manned by but fifty men, to keep in 
check the raids of the hostile Indians ; giving thrilling sketches of the hardships, toils 
and endurance of the early pioneers; tracing by degrees the wonderful growth in 
population and wealth of a City on an area which only Thirty Years ago was a waste 
of swamps and marshes ; giving the wonderful statistics of its pork, lumber, grain 
and other branches of business, portraying the indomitable energy of the people, who 
could build the most magnificent public buildings, churches, store-houses, grain 
elevators and private buildings as could be seen in the land, who could encourage and 
procure the co-operation of the wealth and genius of the nation as to make the city the 
great railroad centre of the great Northwest, whose vast net-work of rails resemble 
a vast grid-iron, and through all the stages of her wondrous progress, unparalleled in 
the history of the world, bring the reader down to those terrible days and nights of 
October 7th, 8th, and 9th, 1871, in which time the Fire Desolator laid waste the most 
valuable part of the Great City. A monument of human energy and labor. 

The Authors being on the spot at the time, and with feelings intensified by the 
fact that their homes and substance and that of their fellow-beings and neighbors 
were being remorselessly consumed by the fiery demon, put themselves to the task of 
depicting the awful scene. They give the origin of the fire. THE FIRST AIARM. 
The feeling of indifference, as it was but a COW SHED. Again, the SEOOXD 
ALARM. The fire spreading. THE LURID GLARE which lights up the whole city. 
The relentless fury of the flames. Its spread in all directions. The unavailing efforts 
to stop its progress. The terror and dismay that seizes upon the inhabitants. The 
hurrying to and fro of men, women and children. The removal of the aged, sick and 
decrepid. The tokens of exhaustion and despair of those who had by unremitting toil 
labored in vain to stop the march of the Scorching Simoon that was sweeping away the 
work of a lifetime. The crash of falling walls. The crumbling of rock built edifices. 
The explosions in buildings. The march of the fire from street to street. Its leap 
across the river. Its irresistible spread among wooden buildings. The scenes when 
the Public Buildings, Churches and Breweries were on fire. Narrow escapes. Scenes 
of terror on the streets. Of pillage and plunder. The battle with the flamei on the 
Lake Shore. The retreat of the people. The checking of the fire. Heroic efforts to 
rescue the wounded and the dead. Sheridan's noble efforts throughout the fearful 
time. All depicted by master hands, and presents a history of the most thrilling interest. 

The Publishers intend to make this volume one of the handsomest of the season, 
and to this end have taken ample time in its preparation. It will bo printed on fine 
paper, elegantly bound, and profusely illustrated with maps, diagrams and views of the 
principal buildings both before and after the fire. They intend to make it a fitting 
souvenir of the great calamity, and one which every person will wish to preserve. 

It will be sold through canvassing agents only, and not in Bookstores, and delivered to 

subscribers at the following prices : 

Beautifully Bound In Fine Cloth and Gilt Centre Stamp, - - $2 50 
Beautifully Bound in Leather, Library Styla, ----- 3 00 

UNION PUBLISHING COMPANY, 

DViilorlolnViio C\-\ i r»n nr\ nnH CA nr»i n nati. 



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