Be sure to read all the way down to see how to enter to win Sword of Forgiveness.
|1839 Erie Canal operations at Lockport, NY|
New York City is a perfect example of some of the things that can cause a city to grow.
How did New York City grow to over eight and a half million people?
The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 led to a boom that made for a thriving New York City. It made way for increased exportation and importation that spurred the building of factories and warehouses. But the financial growth of the city also drew investment firms, insurance companies, and wealthy entrepreneurs.
By 1835 New York City's population was approximately 250,000 people, a huge leap from the 160,000 residents in 1825, only 10 short years. Life was good and people were living the American dream.
But on December 16th, 1835 that changed for many New York City people. It was a cold night, temperatures were down as low as -17 and the East River was frozen like a brick. One of the city's watchmen was making his rounds when he detected smoke. (This is just a side note here, but I find it very interesting that when homes were heated with fires that this man was able to detect the difference between a fireplace fire and a building on fire. A real hero!)
|City in flames|
The fire was in a warehouse on Merchant Street. When the doors were broke down the watchmen discovered a raging fire out of control. With high winds fanning the flames within fifteen minutes fifty buildings were on fire.
New York City had grown so quickly that their water source hadn't kept up with the growth, nor had their fire department. One thousand and five hundred fire fighters, many volunteer, came out to battle the blaze that was consuming their city. There was a lack of water in the cisterns due to two other previous large fires that had destroyed over a dozen buildings. Add to that the freezing temperatures causing the water to freeze in the hoses and you have mounting disasters. It is said the fireman had to stomp on the hose to break the freezing water in them. They eventually had to go to the East River and chop holes in the ice to bring water to the inferno. But they were fighting a losing battle. Philadelphia firefighters came to help and said they could see the glow of the fire from there.
|View from Williamsburg|
By midnight the business district was a flaming inferno. New York City stock exchange, the merchant exchange, warehouses, post office, churches, and banks were burning out of control.
Early in the morning the Marines brought gunpowder from the Navy stockyard and blew up buildings in the path of the fire to make a fire wall. When it was all said and done, only two lives were lost. That is attributed to the fact that the downtown area was business and not residential, and the workers had gone home for the night. Seven hundred buildings were destroyed.
|The old Croton Aqueduct|
Despite the devastation that New Yorkers faced, they showed their American resilience and bounced back. One year later all the fire ravaged blocks had been rebuilt with buildings that could make New Yorkers proud. The devastation that tore through the city that cold night taught New York that changes need to be made in the safety of their city. It spurred on building codes, and ways that fires were managed, but most of all brought the Croton Water System. The system brought water 41 miles from the Croton River by force of gravity alone.
So something good came from the destruction of that night. Our ancestors were a hardy lot who cut roads through mountains and forests, settled the untame west, and made America prosperous. But most of all they never gave up. When they faced a battle or a tragedy they put on their boots and marched forward.
I'm giving away a copy of Sword of Forgiveness to one lucky winner. Leave a comment and let me know if you've ever experienced a fire along with your email address to enter. Share on FB and Twitter for extra entries! Be sure and let me know you've shared. Ends August 12th.
When her father died, she had promised herself no man would own her
again, yet who could defy an edict of the king? After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.
Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was about eight years old. She studied journalism at Heritage University. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.