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Boston 1872: Online Galleries



Boston Fire Fighters During the 19th century Boston's fire department personel consisted of a mix of full-time uniformed fire fighters as well as volunteers.
C.F. Hovey's Store Hovey's store on Summer Street was a Boston shopping landmark from 1858 to 1949. Aside from innovating several retail business practices that are still common today it also had the distinction of being the only building on upper Summer Street to survive the Great Fire of 1872.
Church Green Block The intersection of Summer Street and Bedford Street in downtown Boston is known as Church Green in reference to New South Church which occupied the space until 1867. Boston architect William G. Preston was commissioned to design the Church Green building which became occupied by Freeman's Bank by 1870.
Devonshire Street Devonshire Street runs north-south through the center of downtown Boston from State Street to Summer Street. The intersection of State Street and Devonshire Street marks the location of the Boston Massacre. By 1872 Devonshire Street was at the center of Boston's booming mercantile district, much of which was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1872 but quickly rebuilt soon after.
Downtown Boston General views of downtown Boston during the 1800's.
Fire Ruins After the Great Fire of 1872 the center of downtown Boston was covered in ruins. Thousands of laborers were employed for several weeks to clear just enough rubble to allow traffic to pass through the burnt district.
Franklin Street Franklin Street runs through the center of downtown Boston. In the early 1800's central Franklin Street consisted of 3-story brick residences entirely designed by the famous American architect Charles Bulfinch. Bulfinch's design gave Franklin Street a distinct bow-shaped arch known as a Tontine Crescent which he had seen in Europe. The original residential buildings of Bulfinch's design were removed by the 1860's however to the present day Franklin Street still retains Bulfinch's distinct crescent arch shape.
Maps Docema has collected several historic maps of 19th century Boston as well as created new maps reflecting our research into Boston's Great Fire of 1872.
Peace Jubilee of 1872 During the summer of 1872 Boston hosted an international Peace Jubilee to celebrate the end of the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. Boston's event organizers were hoping to repeat the success of the previous Peace Jubilee which celebrated the end of the U.S. Civil War but attendance for the 1872 event proved dissappointing.
Post Fire After Boston's Great Fire of 1872 the reconstruction of Boston's downtown was rapid, almost 90% rebuilt within just 5 years. The newly constructed buildings were at least and in some cases even more impressive than previous generation of buildings.
Residential Boston ca. 1850 Up until the late 1860's downtown Boston still featured many prominent residential mansions but were soon replaced with commercial stores, warehouses, and factories.
Summer Street The evolution of Summer Street is typical of how downtown Boston transformed from blocks of private homes in the early 1800's to an entirely commercial district by the 1870's.
Washington Street Washington Street has long been the commercial nexis of downtown Boston. Washington Street begins at the door of Old State House at the head of State Street and extends for several miles into south Boston.
Winthrop Square Winthrop Square in downtown Boston is the intersection of Devonshire Street and Otis Street at the heart of the commercial district. The square is named for the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop, in very close vicinity to where his home was located during the founding of the colony.
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