Baltimore History: The Great Fire of 1904

View the historical collection at Digital Maryland

Devastation with City Hall Dome in Background Courtesy: Digital Maryland

114 years ago, an incident happened that changed Baltimore City.  The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 destroyed much of the central part of the city. 1500 buildings were burned and it took more than 1200 firefighters to control the flames.  Some came from as far away as Philadelphia.  It’s reported the fire first started at John Hurst and Company, which is close to where Royal Farms Arena now sits. It burnt for 30 hours destroying 80 city blocks.

Courtesy: Digital Maryland


It took years to rebuild Baltimore City and all of that is documented in a collection on Digital Maryland.  It tells the story of how the city survived the devastation and rebuilt. The collection includes more than 250 images and 13 publications, including the act establishing the “Burnt District Commission.” It also has an interactive map showing how quickly the fire spread over two days. 

You can view the collection online here. 

Collection overview prepared by Bill Cady, Digitization Assistant, Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center.