New York, NY Buildings and Ships Fire, Dec 1853



Ship 'Great Republic' in Flames.

Over $1,000,000 worth of Property Destroyed.

At about 1 o'clock this morning, a fire broke out in the "Novelty Bakery" establishment of TREADWELL & SONS, No. 242 Front-street. The Fire Companies promptly responded to the alarm; but their efforts to save the building were unavailing; it was completely destroyed, together with the greater portion of it contents, consisting of a large amount of flour. The flames soon extended to the adjoining building, No. 244, occupied by Messrs. JONES & ROWLAND as a provisions store, and through into Water-street, igniting the following buildings:

Nos. 261 and 263---Drop Shot and Compressed Ball Agency of Mr. OTIS.

No. 265---Coppersmith and Bell Foundry of J. DUSENBURY.

No. 267---Clothing store of WILLIAM HINTON.

No. 269---The Fourth Ward House, by MICHAEL MOODY.

No. 271---A tenant house, occupied by a large number of poor families.

The lateness of the hour and the great confusion rendered it impossible to gain further particulars.

When our reporter left, at 1¼ o'clock, the fire was making rapid headway, and was extending up Front and Water-street.

Later---1½ A. M.---The fire has just crossed over to the opposite side of Front-street, igniting the plastering and storage store of J. F. Kenny, No. 245, and the boat-building establishment of EDWARD NEWMAN, No. 247.

STILL LATER---2 P. M.---The flames were still extending in every directions, all efforts to get it under way having failed. A general alarm is now being sounded, and engine from all quarters of the City are hastening to the scene of the disaster.

SECOND DISPATCH---2½ o'clock, A. M. The fire is still raging, and it is impossible of form any idea of where it will stop. The wind is blowing fiercely, and the flames are spreading rapidly, notwithstanding the firemen and police are doing their utmost to prevent them.

Several vessels are on fire---among them the ship Great Republic, from Boston, and concerning which as much has been written and said. She caught fire in her rigging, and before the firemen could reach the flames the burning sails had fallen upon the deck which is now all on fire.

The docks in the vicinity are also on fire, and consequently there is but little hope of saving the Great Republic. They have scuttled her, but there is not sufficient water where she lies to prevent her destruction even with her keel on the bottom.

The Williamsburg and Brooklyn Ferry-boats are employed in dragging such ships as can be moved into the river, and there are several now in the stream on fire.

The buildings on South, Front and Water-streets, bounded by Peck-slip and Dover-street, are, many of them on fire, and many more in imminent danger. The wholesale stores running through from Front to South are burning briskly on their roofs, and on Front through to Water-street.

The wholesale liquor and cigar store of CHARLES G. & D. SANDFORD, No. 246, is on fire in the upper story.

The store of D. W. MANWARRING, bags horns, &c., is also on fire, and will probably be destroyed.

The bakery of DAVIDSON & YOUNG, No. 244 Front, is totally destroyed, together with a number of others which, owing to the lateness of the hour, our reporter had not time to get the particulars of.


The fire has crossed Front-street, and Nos. 245, occupied by J. WINSLOW, cooper, and GEORGE C. NEWMAN, boat-builder; 247, occupied by R. M. REYNOLDS, flour dealers, and 219, EDWARD OWEN, bagging &c., are also on fire in the rent, and it will probably extend through to South-street.

Nos. 251, H. N. TERRETT & Co., 253, L. WATERBURY, Patent Cordage, 255 and 257, E. METLER, flour &c., and 243, J. F. KENNEY, Lime Plaster and Cement, and MEYER CHOENY, Tobacco; 211, J. THURSBY & SONS, and 299, J. O'DONOHUE, on each side of the house that are burning, are in immediate danger.

FOURTH DISPATCH---3½ o'clock, A. M.

The fire still raging with unabated violence. The sparks and burning cinders are falling in showers upon the Piers between Peck slip and Catherine Ferry. The mammoth clipper, the Great Republic, is on fire, and will all in probability be totally destroyed! The packet ship Joseph Walker, at this point, a Liverpool packet, is also in flames, and will prove a total loss. The clipper White Squall is being floated down the stream, enveloped in flames.

Several small fishing vessels lying at Peck-slip are also on fire, and all the shipping in the vicinity are in immediate danger. Great exertions are being made to float the vessels into the stream; but many of the larger ones are aground, and all are so closely wedged in together, that the attempt is attended with but little success. The ferry boats of the Union Company are acting as tow-boats.

The Great Republic has immense and valuable cargo on board, and was to sail this week for Liverpool.

FIFTH DISPATCH---4 o'clock A. M.

The fire is still burring fiercely, but probably will not spread much beyond the limits mentioned above.

The loss of property is immense---probably it will far exceed $1,000,000.

Too much praise cannot be given to the firemen, police, and citizens present, for their energy and liberality in endeavoring to extinguish the flames and save the property in the burning buildings.


The fire is still burning with unabating fury, and is extending through South-street.

The masts of the Great Republic have fallen, and her upper deck is destroyed.

A full report will be furnished in an extra edition of the TIMES.

The New York Times, New York, NY 27 Dec 1853