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Souvenir Book of the Great Chelsea Fire April 12, 1908 Containing Thirty-Four Views of the Burned District and Prominent Buildings   By:

Souvenir Book of the Great Chelsea Fire April 12, 1908 Containing Thirty-Four Views of the Burned District and Prominent Buildings by Anonymous

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Containing Thirty Four Views of the Burned District and Prominent Buildings.

Also a Descriptive Sketch.

Copyright, 1908, By The N. E. Paper & Stationery Co. Manufacturers of Souvenir Post Cards and View Books, Boston and Ayer, Mass.

The Great Chelsea Fire

On Sunday April 12, 1908, at about 11 o'clock A. M., an alarm was rung in for a fire in the works of the Boston Blacking Co. on West 3rd St., near the Everett line. The fire department responded immediately and succeeded in putting out the fire with but very little damage, but the forty mile gale that was blowing at the time carried sparks from the fire to nearby houses, and soon all the frame buildings in that vicinity were ablaze. The fire then traveled with great rapidity in an easterly direction, and despite the best efforts of the department, was soon beyond control. Aid was called in from nearby cities, but even the largely increased force was unable to cope with the fire, and could only endeavor to keep it within certain limits. So intense was the heat that buildings made of solid granite crumbled, and were entirely destroyed. The fire could not be checked in its easterly course, and in a short time had traveled across the city and was stopped only by the Mystic River at the East Boston line. Almost the entire business section on Broadway was destroyed, the northern boundary of the fire on Broadway being the Boston & Maine R. R. tracks, and the southern boundary Chelsea Square. Between these two points on Broadway almost all the retail business of the city was done. Among the more prominent public buildings that were destroyed are the City Hall, Y. M. C. A. Building, Odd Fellows Building, Chelsea Savings Bank and County Trust Co. buildings. The number of buildings destroyed is estimated at about 1500, while between 10,000 and 12,000 people were rendered homeless.

No sooner had the awful havoc that the fire had wrought become known, than relief funds were started all over the country, and many of the cities and towns in Massachusetts gave substantial amounts for the relief of the stricken city.

Within two weeks after the fire, Lee Higginson & Co., who were financial agents for the official relief committee had received almost $300,000, and many thousands of dollars more were given directly by employers of the burnt out families, and by fraternal organizations such as Knights of Columbus, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows, Elks, Eagles and many others, almost all of which established relief headquarters at once. The central relief committee immediately opened relief stations at the new High School building and at Lincoln Hall, and thousands were fed at these two places daily.

By Tuesday, great quantities of clothing had been received for distribution, and a receiving station was established at Keany Sq. Boston, where contributions of clothing and household goods were received.

On Wednesday a large number of people were furnished with cooking utensils and mattresses, and by the end of the week thousands of sets of bed clothing had been distributed.

In response to a call from the relief committee, hundreds of automobiles offered their services in delivering goods to the homeless, and the work of relief was greatly aided by this means.

[Illustration: Chelsea Square looking north up Broadway, showing Chelsea Trust Co. Building in centre, and Odd Fellows Building at right.]

[Illustration: Stebbins Block, showing Knights of Columbus Hall, the southern limit of the fire on Broadway.]

[Illustration: Looking up Broadway from Third Street. The heart of the Business District.]

[Illustration: Everett Avenue from Broadway showing what remains of Chelsea's most congested district.]

[Illustration: Looking toward Everett Ave. from rear of Knights of Columbus Hall, showing Congregational and Universalist Churches and Chelsea Trust Co... Continue reading book >>

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