Description: During the industrial revolution of the 19th century, the United States was afflicted with many urban conflagrations and wildfires as tactical firefighting and prevention practices were underdeveloped. Cities underwent transformations as areas formerly occupied by impoverished social classes were displaced by major fires and consequently relocated to different urban neighborhoods. Reconstruction in these fire-ravaged poverty wards attracted both new industries and the affluent. Cities were both architecturally and culturally revamped as they either relinquished or claimed their place as key industrial and artistic centers. Join historian John Horrigan as presents a lecture and slide show that recounts a chronology of great American fires during the 19th century, including:
Portsmouth, NH (1802)
Detroit, MI (1805)
Newburyport, MA (1811)
Washington, DC (1812)
Buffalo, NY (1813)
Boston, MA (1824)
New York, NY (1835)
Pittsburgh, PA (1845)
Nantucket, MA (1846)
St. Louis, MO (1849)
San Francisco, CA (1851)
East Boston, MA (1861)
Troy, NY (1862)
Atlanta, GA (1864)
Lawrence, MA (1864)
Richmond, VA (1865)
Kaiser Burnout, TX (1865)
Portland, ME (1866)
Port Huron, MI (1871)
Chicago, IL (1871)
Peshtigo, WI (1871)
Boston, MA (1872)
Thumb Fire, MI (1881)
Martha's Vineyard, MA (1883)
Charleston Earthquake, SC (1886)
Seattle, WA (1889)
Roxbury, MA (1894)
Porstmouth, New Hampshire suffered great fires in 1802, 1806, 1813 and 1835.
Washington, D.C. was set on fire during the War of 1812.
New York City burned on the night of December 16th, 1835.
The island of Nantucket suffered a devastating blaze on July 13th, 1846.
Portland, Maine went up in smoke on July 4th, 1866.
The Great Chicago Fire took place in October of 1871.
"Damrell's Fire gutted Boston in November of 1872.
The island of Martha's Vineyard was decimated by a major fire in 1883.
A fire raged through Roxbury, Massachusetts in May of 1894 after a fire broke out under the bleachers during a baseball game at the old South End Grounds.
Recorded on November 30th, 2006 at Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, Massachusetts. John reads about the Great Fires that gutted the printing presses of the Boston Herald newspaper in 1855 and 1864.
Recorded on November 30th, 2006 at Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, Massachusetts. John reads about the Great Fires in Boston in 1852 and the Great Boston Riots in 1854. He also speaks about the killer granite block that fell off of a building under construction in Boston and crushed several people on August 23rd, 1854.
Recorded on November 30, 2006 at Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, Massachusetts. John reads from the Illustrated News of January 1st, 1853 about a tragic fire in a famous Boston piano factory on December 3rd, 1852.
Recorded on December 5th, 2006 at Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield, Massachusetts. John reads about a fire that took one of Boston's most cherished theatres on March 31st, 1852. It was re-built twice and burned down in 1879 and again in 1893.
Recorded on January 14th, 2009 at Watertown, Massachusetts. John reads about the fire at the Palace of Westminster, home the British Parliament that was started by "tally sticks". Author Charles Dickens writes about how dangerous these tally sticks were. Time is 2:59; 3 MB
Recorded on July 22, 2008 at Watertown, Massachusetts. John reads about the "Phenomenon of 1819" when on November 8th of that year, a strange greenish tint in the skies over Montreal preceded an anamolous dark day. Time is 4 minutes and 24 seconds; 4 MB
Recorded on July 9, 2007 at Watertown, Massachusetts. John reads from David Ludlum's Vermont Weather Book about a strange darkness that enveloped the Vermont daylight from November 9th through the 11th in the year 1819. 4 minutes and 26 seconds; 4 MB
Recorded on August 16th, 2007 at Stricom Productions in Franklin, Massachusetts. John teams up with producer Steve Russo to make an audio track about an arsonist in Boston in the late 17th century. Listen for Cotton Mather as he pleads for God's mercy.