The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904

One of the other murals painted by the Georgis for the Lord Baltimore Hotel was of the aftermath of the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. The fire was a significant event for the hotel because it spurred rebuilding and revitalization in the area it destroyed.:

“In 1904, however, the city’s progress suffered a rude setback when a fire consumed most of its business district, including a number of historic structures. The devastated area was rapidly rebuilt, perhaps even stimulating economic life, and Baltimore prospered through the First World War and into the 1920’s.”

Maryland History summary – includes source info

Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage describes the fire and illustrates it:

“On Sunday February 7th, 1904 most of Baltimore was looking forward to a quiet Sunday afternoon.

The firefighters at Engine Co. 15 were preparing for morning inspection at 11 am. However, at 10:48 am they received an automatic alarm at the John E. Hurst & Company, located between Hopkins Place and Liberty Street on the south side of German Street (now Redwood).

The fire quickly spread and in minutes the surrounding buildings were ablaze. Chief George Horton, who responded just after 11:10 am, realized the severity of the fire and summoned almost the entire Baltimore City Fire Department, including 24 engines and 8 hook & ladders to the scene. At 11:55 am, the Chief requested help from Washington, DC.”

Not only would the Baltimore Fire Department need help from DC, the fire could be seen from there:

“By 10 PM Sunday, the Maryland Trust Company (left), B&O Railroad (center background) and Continental Trust Company (right background), Baltimore’s tallest building, were ablaze and the glare could be seen from as far away as Washington, D.C.”

Several downtown buildings survived the fire:

“Although the Union Trust burned, its steel framework held. Known as the Jefferson Building today, it is one of only 10 buildings to survive the fire.”

An old bank was among the survivors:

“Alex. Brown & Sons, located at 135 E. Baltimore Street, was built in 1901, although the firm itself was founded in 1800 and was the first and oldest continually operating investment banking firm in the United States. One of the few buildings to survive the Baltimore Fire, it was the only one to retain its elaborate architectural façade, marble and bronze interior, and stained glass dome.”

In the end, over 1500 buildings were burned:

“It is believed to be the third worst conflagration to affect an American city in history, surpassed only by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906.”

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