Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

The Great Boston Fire, 1872 – Item 5 of 5

burntdistrict
Thomas W. Davis, Plan of Burnt District (By Fire of Nov. 9th and 10th, 1872): Showing Street Improvements as Adopted by Board of Street Commissioners and City Council, 1873.


The fire destroyed many businesses in the district including Boston’s publishing houses.  However, the citizens’ spirit and civic pride were revealed, as they quickly rebuilt and implemented reforms in fire and building codes.  This 1873 map outlines the burned district, and includes plans for improving streets within that vicinity.  Realizing that poorly planned and overcrowded lanes had allowed the fire to spread so easily, the City widened seventeen streets and extended four in the area.  Land was cleared to create Post Office Square, new firefighting infrastructure was constructed, and a new downtown rose out of the ashes.

 

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