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On Feb. 7, 1904, a small fire in the Hurst building downtown exploded–quite literally–into a blaze that eventually destroyed 1,500 buildings on 86 city blocks in the heart of downtown Baltimore. As this well-researched report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond details, the fire chief at the time quickly sent a dispatch to his Washington, D.C. counterpart: “Big fire here. Must have help at once.”

While this may seem far in the past, the Great Baltimore Fire greatly influenced the urban landscape we see today; the Alex. Brown & Sons building on East Baltimore Street is one of the few survivors still standing, The Sun reported the other day.

The Fire Museum of Maryland will provide a great opportunity to learn even more about this historic disaster during the Great 1904 Fire Seminar. Historian Wayne Schaumburg will deliver a “lively account,” fire-fighting artifacts–including two actually used in the blaze–will be on display, a movie will be screened, and much more. In addition to that, Towson Delly North is providing food as part of admission and Brew House No. 16 is selling beer.

1-4 p.m., The Fire Museum of Maryland, 1301 York Road, Lutherville; (410) 321-7500,; $22, members $15; must be 16 or older.

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Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...

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