Special Collections: Baltimore - Book of the Fire


Around 9:45 am on of Sunday, February 7, 1904, an automatic fire alarm indicated there was a fire in the basement of the John E. Hurst & Co. building. The fire department quickly responded, but an explosion sent flames from the windows on all sides of the building. Strong winds carried the flames to nearby buildings and the fire rapidly spread to the neighboring blocks.

Baltimore: The Book of the Fire presents a remarkable set of photographic views taken during the Baltimore fire of 1904. This 38-page booklet includes both photographs of the fire's progression and the story of the fire. The story details the beginning of the fire at the John E. Hurst and Company Building (on Hopkins Place and German Street), the battle by fire fighters to contain the conflagration, until its end at the Jones Falls and Baltimore Basin (Harbor).

Photographer J. E. (James Everell) Henry was at the scene of the fire as early as the first engine, allowing the photographs to trace the spread and course of the fire until its final extinction.

Baltimore fire map
Ruins of the Guggenheimer & Weil Building