The Great Salem Fire of 1914: Images from the Philips Library Collection
On a hot day in June 1914, a fire broke out in a leather factory a mile away from the heart of downtown Salem. Despite the efforts of local firefighters and volunteers from communities as far away as Boston, residents watched helplessly as flames leapt from rooftop to rooftop. By the time the fire finally extinguished itself in the Atlantic Ocean, it had destroyed hundreds of acres of property, damaged over a thousand buildings and left more than twenty thousand people homeless. Makeshift tent cities sprung up on Salem Common and in Forest River Park. This collection of historic photos from the Phillips Library depicts the city before the fire, the conflagration itself and the people of Salem's united effort to rebuild and rise triumphant from the ashes.