Great Fire of New York City in 1845


The Great Fire of New York City Fire in 1845 started at about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, on the third floor of Oil Merchant and Stearin Candle Manufacturer, at 34 New Street in Lower Manhattan. It spread rapidly to adjoining buildings. The City Hall alarm bell began to ring at about 3:00 a.m., summoning firefighters.

The fire destroyed about 345 buildings in the southern part of Lower Manhattan and killed 30 people, including four firefighters. It was the last of three devastating fires that affected Lower Manhattan, the other two occurring in 1776 and 1835.



NYC in the 19th Century



Great Fire 1845


Map fire NY 1845




View of the terrific explosion at the Great Fire in New York. From Broad Street - July 19th, 1845. The fire reached a warehouse at at 38 Broad Street where combustible saltpetre was stored and caused a big explosion. Lith. & pub. by N. Currier, 1845. Source: New York Public Library.




Above, map of the burnt area of the Great Fire in 1845, published in The New York Herald, on July 20, 1845, extra edition. The original map was modified here with some additional text. According to the newspaper: "The greatest, the most terrible fire that has occurred in this city since the great conflagration of December, 1835, has spread devastation throughout the lower part of the city. Three hundred buildings, according to the best calculation, have been levelled to the ground. Most of them were large three, four and five story houses, and occupied principally by importing and other merchants. It is a close estimate to set the loss, at from five to ten millions of dollars."


New York City fire


Adelphi Hotel



City Hall fire NY


Great Fire 1835


Below, A View of the Ruins of the Great Fire of New York as it appeared from the corner of Broad & Beaver Streets at 3 O'clock P.M. on the 19th of July 1845 only twelve hours after its first Commencement. Lithograph hand colored by H.R. Robinson, 1845.


New York City 19th century


Broad Street


Great Blizzard 1888




Bowling Green devastation





Devastations after the Great Fire. Above, Broad Street. Below, Bowling Green and Marketfield Street. Illustrations published in The Illustrated London News - August 23, 1845. According to this periodical press: "The district burnt is the most important portion of New York, it having been mostly composed of large buildings, filled with very costly merchandise. In this quarter, too, the French and German merchants chiefly congregated. The loss by this public calamity is, as we have stated, estimated at from 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 dollars, most of which is covered by insurance, and the loss is divided pretty equally amongst the numerous insurance companies; it is expected that nearly all will be paid, though several will have to wind up their concerns in consequence."



Great Fire of New York City in 1845




Copyright © Geographic Guide - Old NYC, 19th Century.


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