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Great Flics Of The Past

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Aniong the great conflagrations of the iast, that of London, in September, 1GÍ50, will always stand pre-eminent for its do 'struotiveness. It followed upon the great plague, which had carried off one-third of the population in the previous year, and awept overnearly fivu-sixths 1' tho spaco included within the city walls at this :date. It liwtted four days, and the ruins covered 430 acres. It destroyed eightynine ohurches (including St. Paul's) tho Royal Exchnngo, the Custom-house, Guildhall, Zion College, and many othor public buildings, besidos 13,200 private houses. Four hundred streets were entirely laid waste, and abnut 200,000 of the inhabitantti of the city were obliged to encamp for soruo time in the open fields of Islingtoii and Highgate. The most dissstrows fire in London sinco that date 'occorred onthe25th of March, 1718, when 200 houses in the Coruhill ward were destroyed. Many destructive fires have ocourred in the British metropolis at later dates, the most recent worthy of special note being tho burning of the eotton and other wharves of Tooley strect in June and July, 1861. Tho fire continued raging with greator or less fury for nearly a .ionth. Sevoral persons were tilled, and property was destroyed to tho value of L2,000,000. On tho 5th of May, 1842, a fire broke out in the City of Hamburg, Germany, raged with great fnry for four days, destroying about one third. of tho city. 3ixty-on streets 1,747 houses, were ut rly laid waste, and thousands of people were rendered homeloss. There were few )ublic buildings of val tic destroyed, and ;hat portion of the city was quickly rejuilt in a much more substailtial nianner han before. In this country great fires, cspeciully jefoie the day of ini]roved enginos, ïavo been comparatively f.vqien,, a :il New York Las had her fuil sharo. In September, 177(5, soón after tho city came nto the hands of the British, 500 houses were destroyed, fotming at that time a arge part of the town. The buildings were rather huddlod togethor at the lower end of the islund, utid were niostly oi wood, and the distriot west of Broadway md below Cortlandt street was swept )aro. Kew York was visited by anotli!v reat conflagration, the grealest in ils ïistory, on the 16th f December, 1835. 5ix hundred warehousjs, and propeity o the extent of over #20,000,00.0 was eunsumtd. Our oldest inhabitulits still n:neniber the horrors of that terrible oaamity. Ou the Gth. of September, 183Ö, he city had another severo visita tioc, vhoii forty-six buildings and property alucdat $10,000,000 were destroyed. The next conflagration of lurge extent in this city took place on the 19th of Julyr 1810, when iO'-i gtoi'es and dwcllings in the lowr jjart oi the city were destroyed. These, ïowever, were of coinparatively inferior value, tho wholo loss amounting lo $6, 000,000. Four lives wtre lost on this occasion. Since that time, uninjí to (he inereased efficiency of the nieans eraployed ;o prevent and extinguish fires they have 'cnerally been confined to a single building, or a siaall gronp. In samo ycar of the last great fire in New York, 1815, Qaebeo Bnnered terribly from the same destroying element. On the 28th of May a fire broke out in the Faubourg St. lioch which destroyed 1,000 buildings boforo it could be quelled. Several lives were also lost. Exactly ono month later, 1,300 buildings were burncd and by these two conilagrations nearly two-thirds of the city was laid in ruins. Tho pecuninry loss has been stated at $K,000)00. In the samo year, on the 12th of Jtine, nearly the wJiole town of St. Johns, Newfonndland, was thsfepoycd irnd 0,000 people rendered homeloss. Albany sufïercd from a great conflagration on the Oüi of Sppteinber, 1818. Six hundred buildings, besides steamboats, piers, and othei property, valued altogether at $3,000,000, were burned. Twentyfour acres were covered with ruins. St. Louis had a great fire in May, 1819, when fifteen blocks of houses and tweni ty-three steamboats were censumed, causing a loss of over 3,000,000. Philadelphia has been fortúnate in having few great fires, but one occurred in that city on the 9th of July, 1850, which destroyed 350 buildings. These were oi' inferior valué, and the loss was but $1,500,000, thouh 20 persons were killed, nine drowned, and 120 injured. A largo portion of San Francisco was destroyed in 1851. On the 3d day of May a fire br ke out which consumed nearly 2,500 buildings, causing a loss of $3,500,000 and several lives. A little over a month later, on the 22d of June, 500 more buildings were burned, valued at $3.000,000 or more. Twelve acres of land were burned over in Syracuse on the 8th of November, 1856. About 100 buildings woro destroyed, and the loss of property amounted to $1,000,000. The scène most natnrally recallod ly this fearful disaster in Chicago is the terrible celebration of tho Fourth of July in Portland, Me., in 1806. The leading facts of that great ovent are still fresh in the public mind. The fire, beginning in a boot shop on High street, swept north, and destroyed in its courso nearly one half of the city. The pecuniary loss was about $15,000,000, and one-fourth of the population were Rendered homeless. It seems probable from tho reports thus far received that the terrible firo in Chicago has no parallel in modern history, unless in the conflagrations kindled by war. Even the great fire in London, though relatively more destructive, did not equal it in absolute extent. The London of tbat day, was little more than two-thirds the size of the Chicago of today, having less than 250,000 inhabitants. And if, as reported, two-tbirds of Chicago is in ruins, the desolated teiritory is far greater than the five-sixths of Lmdon said to have been laid wasto in 180G. -


Old News
Michigan Argus