The Great Boston Fire, 1872 – Item 1 of 5

Charles R. Parsons, “Bird’s-Eye View of Boston, Showing the Burned District” from Harper’s Weekly, November 30, 1872. Gift of Bank of America.
The most devastating fire in Boston’s history began on the evening of November 9, 1872.  Three weeks later, Harper’s Weekly published this view outlining the extent of the burned district.  With a limited water supply, outdated infrastructure, cramped buildings and no horses to pull heavy equipment, firefighters struggled to extinguish the blaze that began at 83-85 Summer Street.  Boston’s commercial center suffered severe losses by the time the fire had been fully quenched – nearly two days after it began.