V. A Blackened City Laid In Ruins

Portland changed dramatically overnight as a result of the Great Fire of July 4, 1866. The winds were high and the tide was out when the fire began, thus creating ideal conditions for the fire to spread from west to east, devastating much of the city. The Great Fire was the worst urban fire in America at the time, sustaining losses over twelve million in today’s dollars. Unfortunately, the scale of destruction was soon to be surpassed by Chicago in1871 and Boston in 1872.