RECONSTRUCTION OF A DOWNTOWN: THE AFTERMATH OF THE GREAT BALTIMORE FIRE OF 1904
Wingo, Amanda Jean
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Reconstruction following a major disaster has farreaching impacts which can alter the functioning of a city. Understanding this process is therefore vital. The results of such a study add to the small body of literature on reconstruction following disaster and thus provides additional testing of the findings of Bowden(l967), the critical piece of literature on reconstruction to date. Specifically, this thesis considers the process of reconstruction by looking at the structural and spatial changes predicted by one catastrophic event. Using both Sanborn Atlases and Baltimore Business Directories between 1902 and 1914, the Central Business District (CBD) is examined through the analysis of concentration, sequencing, and persistence processes. More important, however, is the extent to which these processes impact the spatial characteristics of establishments within the Burnt District over a specific period of time (1902- --- ·--·-- 1914). A significant finding indicates that in the pre- and post-fire period Baltimore maintains a high degree of consistency within the Burnt District. However 1 the vertical dimension of Baltimore changes drastically from 1902 to 1914 allowing an increase in the availability of space explained by the vertical growth of buildings. The sequence of return of the "building block" establishments occurred within a surprising two years following the fire. Several defining situations fix or anchor establishments to their locations 1 which act to mitigate the variations in land-use patterns over time. The findings of this study provide a spatial view of the functional districts which play an important role in the life of the CBD of Baltimore.