Thursday, May 15, 2014

March 7, 1838, New York Commercial, Destruction of the Bowery Theatre,

March 7, 1838, The North-Carolina Standard, page 1, Destruction of the Bowery Theatre,

March 7, 1838, The North-Carolina Standard, page 1, Destruction of the Bowery Theatre,

A little after two o'clock on Sunday morning Feb. 18, the beautiful edifice, erected but little more than a year since, known, as the Bowery Theatre, was entirely destroyed by fire. This is the third building, devoted to theatrical purposes and erecte'd upon this spot, that has been burned within ten years. The first edifice was burned in May, 1828, the second in September, 1836, and the third on Sunday morning.

The following particulars of this fire are principally made up from the Courier and Gazette.

At about a quarter past two o'clock the private watchmen stationed in the building were alarmed by the reflection of a light on the stage, caused by a fire in the upper part of the building. The fire was just then breaking out in the carpenter's shop, which was situated immediately under the roof in front of the building, and the alarm was spread with all possible despatch.
The firemen, with their engines, hastened to the spot, but before any water could be brought to bear upon the building, the whole-interior was in flames, and the possibility of saving any thing was almost out of the question. A dash was made at the property room, where the wardrobe was kept, but only one small bundle of garments was rescued, and the whole wardrobe, estimated at $7000 or $8000, fell a prey to the flames. The scenery, machinery and stage property, being all highly combustible, were soon consumed, and at about three o'clock the roof fell in, sending aloft n mass of cinders, which flew far and wide, and burying beneath it all that remained of the ill-starred Bowery Theatre.

The iron safe, containing some money and all the books and papers of the establishment, was saved ; but, except this, nothing of any value was rescued. The wardrobe, scenery, and other properties, were valued at about $60,000, upon which there was no insurance. Insurance to the amount of $35,000 had been effected upon the building, which it is supposed will not cover one half of the whole actual loss.

Of the origin of this fire, there can be but one opinion, that it was the work of an incendiary The flames, when first discovered, were breaking out from the carpenter s shop in the top of the building in front. There was a coal stove in that room, but no fire had been in since half past four o'clock the previous day, and the last person who left the building on Saturday night, states most positively that there was not a spark of fire in the building, except such as was
below, and was attended to by the watchmen.

There are, moreover, some circumstances, which we are not at liberty to divulge, which tend to strengthen the general opinion that the fire was the work of an incendiary.

The most lamentable occurrence we have yet to record. During the burning of the theatre, the interior of which blazed like a volcano at the moment of an eruption, sending the burning cinders in every direction, one of the embers unfortunately fell through a broken pane of a sky-light in a club stable, No. 49 Chrystie st. setting it instantly on fire, and burning to death a black man named Thomas, who slept in the loft. before he could be extricated. There were five horses in the stable, all of which were got out without injury. The stable, belonged to Mr. Hamblin, who also had a deep interest in the theatre. N.Y. Commercial.

October 6, 1836, The North-Carolina Standard., page 3, Bowery Theatre Burnt,

April 15, 1837, Maumee Express, page 1, Unnamed Paragraph,

November 1 1837, Constantine Republican, page 1, Unnamed Paragraph,

March 8, 1838, Edgefield Advertiser, page 5, Destructive Fire, Bowery Theatre Burned,

May 24, 1845, The Illustrated London News, Burning of the Bowery Theatre, New York,

July 1868, Harper's Weekly, page 5x6 in., Explosion of a Steam Fire-Engine in the Bowery, New York, June 18, 1868,

N. Currier (Firm),
View of the terrific explosion at the great fire in New York: from Broad St.--July 19th. 1845

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