Fire at the U.S. Capitol destroys valuable books and artifacts

On the morning of December 24, 1851, a fire breaks out in the library of the U.S. Capitol and soon significant portions of the west front of the building are burning. Attempts to fight the fire are at first hampered by the winter weather that had frozen fire hoses but soon fire fighters contain the blaze. The losses in the Library are devastating, however. More than 35,000 of the 55,000 books there are destroyed along with dozens of historic paintings and statuary. The original copy of the Declaration of Independence is saved. (By John Osborne)
Source Citation
Chronicle, The Annual Register or a View of the History and Politics of the Year 1852 (London: F. & J. Rivington, 1853), 1.
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