https://www.facebook.com/FriendsCharlestownBranchLibrary Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library
179 Main Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
History, Lectures & Conferences
For two days in November 1872, a massive fire swept through Boston, leaving the downtown in ruins and the population traumatized. Coming barely a year after the infamous Chicago fire, Boston’s inferno turned out to be one of the most calamitous in Boston’s history, as well as one of the most expensive fires per acre in U.S. history.
The downtown fire spanned two days and would end up destroying 776 buildings across 65 acres of land. The fire spread easily across the wooden roofs of buildings, where the fire department struggled to get enough water pressure to put the fire out. Many firefighting units rushed in from neighboring towns, including Charlestown. Adjacent states also scrambled to assist in the firefighting effort.
Yet today few are aware of how close Boston came to total destruction. Boston author Stephanie Schorow masterfully recounts the fire’s history from the foolish decisions that precipitated it to the heroics of firefighters who fought it. Published last November, The Great Boston Fire was written to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this massive fire, which took place specifically on November 9 and 10, 1872.