New York’s Greatest Fire

Issue 26 and Volume 54.

New York’s Greatest Fire Tuesday, December 16, was the seventy-eighth anniversary of New York’s greatest conflagration, which took place December 16, 1835. This was the largest fire on this continent up to the Chicago conflagration, October 8, 1871. There were 674 buildings destroyed between Wall and Broad streets, Coenties slip and the East river. The loss was $22,000,000. The fire department at that time (James Gulick, chief) consisted entirely of hand engines and the water supply was from the rivers and cisterns. The fire started about 9 o’clock in the evening in a dry goods store in Merchant street. The night was bitter cold, the thermometer indicating 7 degrees below zero, and a strong northwest gale continued all night. All the fire cisterns were frozen, as well as both rivers. Several engines worked on the East river ice, holes being cut through the ice for all the engines to obtain…

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