N.B.-born author wants to ignite interest in the Great Saint John Fire of 1877

0
89

It’s been 145 years since raging fireplace, blinding smoke and thick layers of ash smothered the metropolis of Saint John, leaving 200 acres of the metropolis destroyed. 

The Great Fire of Saint John modified the metropolis endlessly, in accordance to author Mark Allan Greene. Despite that, he stated few folks really know a lot about it. 

“It ended up being one of the worst city fires in nineteenth century North America. It was greater than the Boston fireplace and everybody’s heard about the Boston fireplace, and proportionally greater than the Chicago fireplace,” stated Greene, who grew up in Saint John however now lives in Edmonton. “It’s changing into a misplaced story.”

In 2016, Greene took a visit to Saint John the place he requested some tour guides the place the fireplace began, however all of them had totally different solutions. Greene stated this is not due to the fireplace not being well-documented. In reality, two books have been written proper after the fireplace in 1877. He stated the authors got two weeks to write them as a result of of the demand. 

“I needed to deliver the story again alive,” stated Greene. 

So that is what he did. Greene’s guide, The Great Saint John Fire of 1877: The rise, destruction and restoration of Canada’s main port metropolis, was revealed on Oct. 18.

Greene’s guide, ‘The Great Saint John Fire of 1877: The rise, destruction and restoration of Canada’s main port metropolis,’ was revealed on Oct. 18. The guide options archival photographs and captions that lead readers by way of the occasions that occurred in 1877.  (Submitted by Mark Allan Greene)

The guide options archival photographs and captions that lead the readers by way of the occasions that occurred in 1877. 

“To me, an image says a thousand phrases, however an image and about 150 and 200 phrases with it, it tells a narrative.”

Greene stated Saint John began as a barren rock, however some exiled loyalists labored to flip nothing into the third-largest metropolis in Canada.

Wooden homes and wood warehouses packed the metropolis after its 70-year rise, stated Greene.

Before and after the Great Saint John Fire on Prince William Street. (Collections of the New Brunswick Museum)

He stated there was some criticism after the Great Fire as a result of there was no thought of fireplace prevention — an necessary consideration in a metropolis made of wooden. He stated there have been even warning indicators, 13 main fires main up to the large one in 1877. 

“What would have occurred if a spark did not land on that hay bale that day? Probably a pair years later, similar factor, as a result of it was arrange for catastrophe simply the manner the metropolis was constructed.”

Rebuild, reinvent

Greene stated there was quite a bit of loss from the fireplace and other people suffered as a result of of it. He stated typically when folks look again at historic occasions, they see the folks as being robust and hardy sufficient to deal with the loss. But he stated the individuals who went by way of the fireplace endured the similar psychological trauma that folks now would expertise — trauma that might keep on with them for all times.

Greene stated Saint John has gone by way of many levels of rebuilding and reinventing itself, from the touchdown of the loyalists to the aftermath of the Great Fire together with different rebuilds and redirections since then.

Before and after the Great Saint John Fire at the head of King Street. (From the Collections of the New Brunswick Museum)

He stated the loyalists set out to construct a metropolis that might rival Boston and New York, however as a Saint John-native, Greene is pleased he does not see skyscrapers in every single place whereas strolling round.

“What I’ve at all times appreciated about Saint John is it loves its historical past and it holds on to that appeal,” he stated. “It holds on to its heyday and it tries to protect its historical past.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here