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Icon Information on BRG17 - (Burnt District Commission)

Series Information
(Burnt District Commission)

Series Description

The "Great Baltimore Fire" of February 7, 1904 destroyed 140 acres, 1,500 buildings, and four large lumber yards and left over thirty-five thousand Baltimoreans jobless. Total damages were estimated between $125 and $150 million. On March 12, 1904 (Ordinance 66) the Burnt District Commission was established with broad powers to plan, improve, and rebuild the city with appropriate monies. The commission lasted three and one half years and reduced street grades, widened streets, established public squares and market spaces, established building lines and sidewalks, and planned extensions in the harbor. In its work this commission spent over $7 million to remove hundreds of buildings, increasing the street areas by about thirty-five thousand square feet with the widening of St. Paul, Pratt, Light, German, Lombard, and Charles Streets and Hopkins Place.

Further information about the fire and commission can be found in Ord. 66 (1904); Harold A. Williams, Baltimore Afire (Baltimore: Schneidereth and Sons, 1954 and 1979 rev. ed.); and James B. Crooks, "The Baltimore Fire and Baltimore Reform, Maryland Historical Magazine 65 (Spring 1970): 1- 17.

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DateSeries NameFilm ReelsDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1904-1907Semi-annual Commission Reports Seventeen manuscript volumes of published Burnt District Commission semi-annual reports summarizing its activities.BRG17-1
  Details1904-1907Administrative Records 

Property assessments; property acquisitions by gift, purchase, lease, and condemnation; rights of interest; franchises; privileges of easement; expenditures list; settlements; general correspondence; and protests and agreements.

One folder containing easements for dock improvements and the widening of Pratt Street has been placed at the end of the series. These records were not indexed by the HRS.

See Series 4 for index.

  Details1904-1907Street Progress Reports Reports recording progress of reducing grades, establishing public squares and market spaces, fixing building lines and sidewalks, and providing for extensions in the harbor.BRG17-3
  Details1904-1907Alphabetical Index File An alphabetical index file of correspondence and property locations of records contained in Series 2.BRG17-4
  Details1904Maps of the Burnt DistrictBCA 220 (Scanned), BCA 1388 (Scanned)Maps printed by the Sanborn Map Company showing the extent of destruction and buildings destroyed. Feb. 7-8, 1904. Index map of the series on Plat E. Reproduced on BCA microfilm reels 220 and 1388.BRG17-5
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