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A visual history of the New York Crystal Palace [slideshow]

When New York’s Crystal Palace opened its doors in 1853, it quickly became one of the most endeared and celebrated landmarks in the city’s history. But five years later, the building was completely gone—engulfed in flames and reduced to a heap of smoldering debris. The following slideshow of photographs from The Finest Building in America recapture the sensation and spectacle behind the New York Crystal Palace: a building that mattered so much to antebellum Americans and New Yorkers, yet was never rebuilt.

Featured image credit: “Burning of the New York Crystal Palace, on Tuesday Oct. 5th, 1858. During its occupation for the annual fair of the American Institute” scanned by the New York Public Library (Image ID: 1659236). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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