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Boston 1872 Gallery: Fire Ruins



After the Great Fire of 1872 the center of downtown Boston was covered in ruins. Thousands of laborers were employed for several weeks to clear just enough rubble to allow traffic to pass through the burnt district.

The fire steamer known as "The Cataract" hosing down ruins after the Great Fire.
Looking down Summer After the Great Fire of 1872. To the right are the remains of Shreve, Crump & Low after a coal gas leak exploded, and further down the street is Hovey's dry goods strore which was saved from the fire.

This lithograph depicting the details of the destruction from Boston's Great Fire of 1872 was published nationally in Harper's Weekly magazine just after the fire.
Business owners and pedestrians along what remained of Federal Street shorty after the Great Fire of 1872. A few buildings at the head of Milk Street including the Old South Meeting House can be seen still standing in the background.

The local miltia stood guard against looters among the ruins of Pearl Street just after the Great Fire.
Upper Summer Street after the Great Fire of 1872. On the left is the front of Hovey's store, on the right is the ruins of Trinity Church.
The ruins of Trinity Chruch on Summer Street after the Great Fire of 1872.
Fire ruins near Franklin Street looking north toward the newly constructed Post Office on the north side of Milk Street.
Fire ruins at the intersection of Summer Street and High Street just after the Great Fire of 1872.
The ruins of Shreve, Crump & Low jewelery store after a coal gas explosion after the Great Fire of 1872. The store was relocated to 225 Washngton Street where it is still in business to the present day.
This 1873 map highlights the proposed changes for several downtown streets in the Burnt District after the Great Fire of 1872. In the wake of the fire city planners saw an opportunity to widen several of Boston's downtown streets before the commercial district was rebuilt. After much debate and compromise with land owners these changes were implemented and became the layout of downtown Boston as it is today.
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