Jan 13, 2009 11:39 AM | 3
Our thoughts seem to be turning in a melancholy direction. Before we level our attention towards happier matters, let me note the publication of a new Wikipedia article, written by our friend Garry Osgood, on the Brooklyn Theater Fire of 1876. It is fashionable to be suspicious of Wikipedia as a source, but let me assure readers that they can have every confidence in Garry's work.
Garry distills a clear and detailed account of the horrific events of the evening from the published sources, especially our own Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online. Of particular interest though are some remarkable images of the destruction, and a beautiful schematic created by the author himself:
For an explanation of the diagram and an outline of key events, see Garry's commentary on the schematic here:
And while we are on the subject: the German language version of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, which began publication in the 1850s, published at least two engravings in the bitter aftermath of the fire. Based in Pearl Street, New York, the Illustrierte Zeitung served the nation's German population, 1.5 million of whom arrived in the U.S. between 1830 and 1860, many of them settling in New York City and Brooklyn.
The caption reads: Theaterbrand in Brooklyn am 5 Dezember 1876--Freunde und Verwaendte der Verunglueckten besichtigen die unter dem Schutt gefundenen Gegenstaende. (Theater Fire in Brooklyn on 5 December 1876--Friends and relatives of the victims search through the property found under the debris.) Theaterbrand in Brooklyn am 5 Dezember 1876--Begraebniss der Verunglueckten am 9 Dezember. Der Leichenzug in Flatbush Avenue (Theater fire in Brooklyn on 5 December--Funeral of the victims on December 9. The cortege on Flatbush Avenue.) (Frank Leslie's Illustrierte Zeitung, 19 December 1876.)