It’s hard to envision blocks and blocks of Lower Manhattan being destroyed by a raging fire, but that’s exactly what happened there 181 years ago to the day, December 16th, 1835. That year marks one of New York’s most traumatic fires in history, known as the Great Fire of 1835. It came at a time the city was developing rapidly, with the arrival of new businesses, railroad terminals, and people. But there were also major concerns that came with the city’s boom: there was a lack of a reliable water source for the city, and there were not enough fire departments to keep everyone safe. And so the forces collided into a traumatic fire that would change the course of New York’s development significantly.