November 9th, 1872, only 13 months following the Great Chicago Fire, an early evening fire started in a warehouse in the city of Boston. Before this fire could be extinguished some 12 hours later, over 65 acres and close to 800 building were destroyed.

How did a Fire in Boston in 1872 affect the value of a classic piece of literature today?
November 9th, 1872, only 13 months following the Great Chicago Fire, an early evening fire started in a warehouse in the city of Boston. Before this fire could be extinguished some 12 hours later, over 65 acres and close to 800 building were destroyed.
How do you lose so many buildings in such a short period of time? It is interesting to research these fires a century and greater after they occur, you see things that individually may not raise a warning flag, but collectively paint the picture of how these simple daily occurrences come together to create tragedy. That’s what we are going to look at today, some of the small facts that led to a large fire.
Epizootic, outside of our veterinarian community has anyone ever heard of this? Meriam Webster defines this as: “an outbreak of disease affecting many animals of one kind at the same time”. But how would this play into a factory fire or a fire departments ability to extinguish a fire?  In 1872 the steam engines that the Boston Fire Department utilized were pulled by horses. In the days and weeks leading up to this fire the majority of the horses in Boston were afflicted by flu like disease, Epizootic. At the time of the fire the Boston Fire Department fleet was so affected that the runs cards were altered, a normal 6 steam engine response for a first alarm was reduced to a single steam engine; a second alarm would only be sounded if the fire was above the third floor. To add insult to injury, in order to get the first arriving steam engine and hose carriage to the scene the firefighters had to recruit civilians to help push them.
Tax laws in Boston called for taxes on inventory with one exception, inventory in attics were exempt. Business owners used this to their advantage and would stuff their attics with inventory in order to avoid being taxed. As most roofs in the city at that time were made of wood that had dried over the years the fire quickly spread rooftop to rooftop, the fire load stored in the attics of these building made for an intense fire, difficult to extinguish as the fire ran through the downtown area.
Old cities use to have box alarms that when pulled would transmit via telegraph and Morse code the location to the nearest firehouse. Boston had these installed throughout the city but these were reported to be padlocked in an effort to reduce false alarms.
I almost forgot I posed a question regarding how this fire changed the value of a classic piece of literature.
Did you know that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was originally published in 1872? Further did you know that a majority of the first editions were stored in a factory, in Boston, that burned to the ground? A fire in Boston on November 9th, 1872 made a first edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea one of the rarest books you can own.