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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 56, March 1-2, 1851

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From collection:Part of:

Identifier: DX09930668

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 56, March 1-2, 1851

Description: Continues describing the fire at Saint Thomas Church.


and on its roof firemen, seated amid a sea of stifling smoke and fire sparkles, pouring streams of unavailing water into the hell of flame below; one man with cigar in mouth. A crowd, though an accessible one in Broadway, a multitude of fire engines, many standing idle, seeing that the destruction’s element hath mastery. Gazed awhile, then rambled through hose pipes, firemen, rushing water and desultory mob, till arriving in front, close to the building, gazed into it through the open door, flaming window and towers above. A great hall of scorching, lurid, fire, drifting upwards, slant-wise with a rushing mighty noise, terribly, dreadfully beautiful. Too beautiful for aught but mute awe and admiration — not fear-creating, though so irrestible, so terribly-suggestive of man’s insignificance. It is 2 o’clock, and the fire hath the mastery, roof and organ loft have fallen; but the walls and towers are thick and yield not; so, striding through Houston, the drifting flame on the right, firemen and engines beside us, and mud, water, and hose pipes below, we retrace our steps, and back to our quiet boarding house home. The fire bells toll that another fire is up, but we go not there, preferring bed.

30. S


2, Sunday, first being yester-day scored down erroneously. A sitting for my portrait in the loft, in the morning. Atchien, the Celestial with us; — anon a visit from Baudoin, who sate and smoked and talked an hour. After dinner, Cross suggesteth a drive on the Avenues, so he and I visit the adjacent Hippona and stables, where after a converse with the burly man in a small room, white washed, having a desk partitioned off on a raised dais, a few bridles, and horse-collars, and the like; we step into a light vehicle, yclept buggy, big wheels and a horse to match; — tall black mare. Cigars lit, off we go, down

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1851-03-01

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Fire extinction
Church buildings
Fire fighters


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