Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, Volume 35
General Books LLC, 2009 - 236 pages
Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1887. Excerpt: ... Lxxvra. THE BEACON-STREET FIRE. January 11, 1856. Mr. Editor: -- On "Wednesday, July 7th, 1824, just before two o'clock, the bells of Boston rang an alarm of fire, and instantly a dense mass of black smoke was seen to overhang the entire city*. I have always been an amateur at fires. If the calamity must happen, I like to be present, to behold what sometimes proves to be a most magnificent spectacle. I was then a young man, -- in my teens, -- and hastening from 'Change to the corner of Park street, I saw at once that a most furious and destructive conflagration had commenced. The wind was blowing a hurricane from the northwest. When I reached the bottom of the Beacon-street Mall, a stream of fire was pouring through the passage-way west of Mr. Bryant's house, from carpenter shops and other combustible premises on Charles and Chestnut streets. The flame was of the full width of the passage-way, and it was curling round into the front windows of Mr. B.'s house, which was then nearly finished and ready for occupancy. The out-buildings and fences of all that range of dwelling-houses were then of wood, so that the fire was also making its fearful approaches in the rear. I have never seen before or since, any similar occasion of a more appalling character. The hasty removal of household furniture, much of it being thrown from the windows, which were broken out for the purpose; the panic of the occupants, as they and their children were obliged to fly, some at a notice of a few minutes; the crackling of the flames, the intense heat, the falling of the walls of one dwelling-house after another, as the fire proceeded along the street; the shouts of the firemen; the mnss of spectators filling the bottom of the Common and the rising ground in its centre, the jets of flame often springing over ...
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