With detailed figures and bold, bright flames, this work chronicles the townspeople of Springfield, Massachusetts attempting to extinguish the blaze that ignited at the U.S. Armory on March 2, 1824. With the rise of illustrated journalism, depictions of often-destructive urban fires became increasingly popular, culminating in the mid nineteenth-century with several lithography series produced by Currier & Ives. The present lot is distinguished by its early date and for the fact that it is an original work.
In 1777, General George Washington scouted and approved the site for the building of the Springfield Armory, which originally functioned as a warehouse for the storage of armaments. Soon after, it became a manufactory, responsible for the production of the majority of United States firearms until its closing in 1968, when it became a museum. The fire that erupted in 1824 gutted but did not destroy the building, which was later rebuilt and eventually connected to the building on its right. Realizing that the conflagration would not be easily extinguished by the bucket brigade, the townspeople turned their attention to rescuing the rifles housed in the building, illustrated in boxes scattered about the lawn.