The following text is a translation of page 1 of Der Deutsche Correspondent from February 9, 1904. The translation is by Alex Russell.
*Note – Picture quality is lacking. Some photos have been edited to bring out better definition. In some cases there wasn’t much that could be done.
Baltimore in Ruins.
Entire downtown burnt out.
Damages amount to more than 250 million dollars. Banks destroyed, insurance companies paralyzed. City under martial law. All militia regiments and federal servicemen on duty. Gov. Warfield decrees a 10 day public holiday. Federal, state, and local aid requested. Aid arrives from New York, Philadelphia. Fire tackled after 28 hours. Many injured and only one fatality. Debris blasted with dynamite.
The world has not seen a calamity like that which befell Baltimore on Sunday since the destruction of Carthage and Rome. The incineration of Chicago 30 years ago does not compare to Baltimore’s fiery disaster, where wooden houses burned and damages amounted to almost $50 million. Here, the proudest of business establishments were turned to rubble and ashes in less than 24 hours, and will require $50 million alone to rebuild, while the loss of goods and merchandise will approach an amount of $200 million.
The duty of the federal government would now be to offer assistance. The authorization of a $50,000,000 loan (15 years at 3%) for purposes of lending would help the city immediately get back on its feet. This sum could at the very least rebuild the buildings of those businesses that were brought to the verge of ruin on account of the fire. Businesses could then use their insurance money to purchase new merchandise.
The human mind stands still at the sight of the sea of debris that stretches from Liberty St. in the west to Jones Falls in the east, from Lexington St. in the north down to Pratt St. west of Light St. and over to the Harbor East of Light St. in the south. In this district stood nearly all of the banks, import companies, commission houses, bureau offices, newspaper offices and wholesale businesses, buildings that appeared to be built for eternity. Not one morning paper could be published yesterday. The roaring sea of flames reached the newspaper bureaus before they could go to press. As the morning advanced, the horrific force had nearly completed its work of destruction, the water of the harbor halted its advance. It sprang onto “the Block” and also over the Jones Falls, however the firemen from New York were able to halt the flames. The cremated district encompass 155 acres of land.