Disaster! Today in History – February 18, 1889

ECHO underway, posted Friday, February 18, 2011

The image for this post is available at Connecticut History Illustrated.

In the pre-dawn hours of February 18, 1889, the Park Central Hotel in Hartford was ripped apart by a steam boiler explosion.  The hotel was at full occupancy.  Twenty-two people lost their lives, and many more were severely injured.

Located at 54 High Street, the 15-year-old hotel, five stories high, initially measured 125 feet long and 40 feet wide and contained 40 rooms.  An annex of 24 rooms for employees an guests’ servants was added several years before the explosion.  The structure suffered from being built on shifting soil, and although the boiler explosion was to blame for the catastrophe, Hartford citizens, insurance company presidents, and politicians arose in common voice to demand stricter building inspection.

Read the New York Times article covering the explosion here.