Sometimes the most interesting bits of history, are not the ones we all know. As an example, I didn’t know a bit about the 1904 Great Baltimore Fire until we were researching Maryland for our United States geography lessons. Then I found out about the unsung heroes of the Great Baltimore Fire and Goliath the horse.
Future Ticia here, I’m updating this post about the Great Baltimore Fire because I was looking through our library and found the book we used on the shelves again, and wanted to look at this post again.
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The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904
Apparently, a lot of the history I have for Maryland involves fire, because we also have the writing of the Star Spangled Banner and that involved painting the city on fire…
For a bit more background info I went to Wikipedia.
I couldn’t find what led to the fires starting, but as the fires raged on for days fire trucks from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. were brought in by train to help fight the fires. At that time, fire trucks were still drawn by horses (a fact important to the Great Baltimore fire book we’re about to use), and it was faster to truck them down.
Unfortunately, at that time fire hydrant sizes and fire hose sizes weren’t standardized, so many of the hoses didn’t fit onto the Baltimore fire hydrants.
This got great press in the news about how backward Baltimore was, and all sorts of craziness, but in the end led to fire hydrants being standardized across the country.
While the Great Baltimore fire was a tragedy for the city of Baltimore, causing over 100 million in damages at the time (over 3 billion in today’s money) and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, it changed how fires were fought in this nation.
When I was researching the state of Maryland, I knew nothing about this fire, the book Goliath: Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire came up in my search for Baltimore, and grabbed it up because Princess loves horses.
It was a good find.
Goliath is the lead horse to pull the massive Fire Engine No. 1, and his bravery as he stood fast in the face of fire inspired the firefighters he pulled in to fight the fire.
Our Great Baltimore Fire project
This is a case of keeping the project simple. I took a piece of copy paper and cut it into fourths. Then each kid, folded their piece of paper in half, hamburger fold.
In the middle of the fold, they made two small cuts, about a half inch deep on either side and about a half inch or so apart from each other.
This tab is popped out so it can create a pop-up for the story. On what is going to be the top half of the story they drew buildings on fire. It was quite dramatic.
I had scanned and cut out pictures of Goliath pulling the fire engine. They then glued them onto their tab to make it stand up. You could also have them draw a picture of Goliath pulling the engine, but it was a new and different way to use the scanned picture (which is also why I’m not sharing it because that would be breaking copyright).
My boys found the idea that soldiers and firemen from all over came down to stop the buildings absolutely fascinating, so they drew in the soldiers who came down to help.
All in all, I highly recommend the book. As you can see from the scanned pictures the book has gorgeous illustrations, and the story is very touching. And, of course, the horse survives. An animal story is just no good if the animal dies.
More Unique lessons for primary grades
- Easy to adapt math game for multiple skills
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie writing prompt
- Combining art and science
- Sun Unit
Originally published June 6, 2011