For two days in November 1872, a massive fire swept through Boston, leaving the downtown in ruins and the population traumatized. Coming barely a year after the infamous Chicago fire, Boston’s inferno turned out to be one of the most expensive fires per acre in U.S. history. Yet today few are aware of how close Boston came to destruction. Boston author Stephanie Schorow masterfully recounts the fire’s history from the foolish decisions that precipitated it to the heroics of firefighters who fought it. Lavishly illustrated with period artwork and photographs and published just before the fire’s 150th anniversary, The Great Boston Fire captures the drama of a life-and-death battle in the heart of the city. One of the fallen firefighters was a JP resident.
Stephanie Schorow is a veteran journalist who has worked for the Boston Herald, the Associated Press, and other media. Her previous books include Inside the Combat Zone: The Stripped Down Story of Boston’s Most Notorious Neighborhood; Drinking Boston: A History of the City and its Spirits; Boston on Fire: A History of Fires and Firefighting in Boston; and The Cocoanut Grove Fire. See www.stephanieschorow.com
This event is co-sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library and the JP Historical Society.