Bird's-eye view of Boston, showing the burned district

Author: Parsons, Charles R. (Charles Richard)
Publisher: Harper & Brothers
Date: 1872
Location: Boston (Mass.)

Dimensions: 35.0 x 52.0 cm.
Scale: Not drawn to scale
Call Number: G3764.B6A3 1872 .P3


Most bird's eye views were not designed to depict a specific date. However, this view is tied to an actual event, similar to Fuchs' view dated July 4, 1870. Three weeks after Boston's great fire of November 9 and 10, 1872, Harpers Weekly published this view illustrating the extent of the burned district.

In their haste to provide graphic images of the disastrous event in their weekly news magazine, the editors borrowed sketches of the city compiled by Charles R. Parsons before the fire. These materials were generated during the preparation of a magnificent bird's eye view which was to be published by Currier and Ives, as was acknowledged in the bottom marginal notes and an accompanying article.

In this journalistic presentation, the city is viewed from the east with the burned district highlighted by shading. The designated area includes that portion of today's Financial District bordered roughly by Summer, Washington, Milk, and Broad Streets. The most destructive of several great fires that occurred in Boston, the disaster engulfed more than 60 acres of some of the most valuable real estate in the city, destroying 930 businesses valued at approximately $100,000,000 (about $3.5 to $4 billion in current dollars).

Gift of Bank of America.

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