Roughly Speaking: The Fire of 1904 and tragic death of Baltimore’s youngest mayor (episode 207)

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The Great Baltimore Fire started on Sunday Feb. 7, 1904, burned for 30 hours, devastated 80 blocks of downtown and destroyed 1,500 buildings and hundreds of businesses. The city had a young mayor — in fact, the youngest in its history, Robert McLane, 35 years old at his election in 1903 — and he oversaw the efforts to fight the fire, then took on the daunting challenge of rebuilding the central business district.

Today, historian Wayne Schaumburg talks about the Great Baltimore Fire and the sudden, shocking demise of that young mayor — at the center of efforts to stop the fire in February, leader in the effort to rebuild the city immediately afterwards, but dead of a single gunshot wound in late May. Wayne Schaumburg conducts tours of areas affected by the Great Baltimore Fire, in association with the Fire Museum of Maryland.

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