One Of The Worst Disasters In U.S. History Happened Right Here In Boston

The Boston we know today might look very different if it weren’t for one major event that happened here in the 19th century. I’m talking about The Great Boston Fire of 1872. This blaze swept through the city, claiming lives and decimating buildings. Overnight, the landscape of Boston changed forever.

On the evening of November 9, 1872, a fire began at 83-85 Summer Street in the basement of a dry goods store. It’s thought that the steam engine in the basement, which ran the building’s elevator, was where the fire actually ignited.

Afterwards, the city implemented tougher building regulations. Boston rebuilt, spreading into the newly absorbed neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Charlestown. During reconstruction, some Bostonians suggested making the city’s streets follow a pattern.

Mayor Pierce responded: “such a plan would not only involve enormous expense, but severely interfere with the business interest of the city.”

Even though the street layout didn’t dramatically change, this tragic event left a permanent mark on our city.

Unfortunately, the Great Boston Fire isn’t the only disaster that Boston has experienced. We also endured the Cocoanut Grove Fire and the Great Molasses Flood.