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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 55, February 28-March 1, 1851

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Identifier: DX09926215

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 55, February 28-March 1, 1851

Description: Describes a fire at Saint Thomas Church.


length of me, both of which promise to prove excellent. My sitting’s taken in the loft above; forming a fine atelier, one window, dormer, and consequently Rembrandtish effect.

29. Saturday [March 1]. Walk miscellaneous, and [Thomas] Picton’s portrait. Down town in the morning, calling on [William] Roberts for the Drill picture which I had left in the earlier part of the week for engraving. To [Charles F.] Andersons where I found from a paragraph in the [New York] Herald, placed in my hands by the “old man” that he had obtained the Capitol premium. Congratulations, explanation, declamation and glorification thereon — he talked an hour consecutively. / A Sitting to Alf [Waud] in the afternoon. Evening, at about 11, being with Alf, Cross and Homer Hall playing whist, the fire bells tolling without prompt a peep at the windows. A wide, angry red glare on the houses, so off we hurry. Tramp, tramp. “Fire! fire!! F I R E! — ” echoes through the still night as on we go “a perfect streak.” Through a few bye streets north of Canal, into Mercer, along that street we scamper. The glare redder, house blocks seem with startling distantness, each brick visible. We arrive at the corner of Houston, it is Saint Thomas Church on fire, (a handsome stone edifice, the front in Broadway.) Flame pouring out along the roof, and gliding up one tower; a crowd, though not a dense one, firemen hurrying out with piles of prayer books, M P’s joining staves to keep intruders back. Many “masheenes” there and no lack of stout fellows to work them. Little Cross we had out run, so the trio stand and gaze, and admire and wonder. Then a run around to Broadway, through a street adown which a whirlwind of smoke and fire sparkles and water drops rushed. Arrived in front we see the conflagration in all its dreadful beauty. For the great central perpendicular style window, is all on fire, a raging mass of lurid light within and fiery tongues of flame darting along transom and interstice. A Tower all in flame, and another just on fire, and spreading rapidly. A tall house on the right

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
New York

Dates: 1851-02-28

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Painting
United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)
19th century
Church buildings
Fire fighters


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