1792The selectmen voted to build smokehouses to prevent smallpox.Economy and Industry, Government and Public Service, Infrastructure, Health

Minutes of Town Meeting, September 10, 1792. Gloucester Town Records, 1753-1800. Vol. 3, 1800, p. 368.
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Minutes of Town Meeting, September 10, 1792. Gloucester Town Records, 1753-1800. Vol. 3, 1800, p. 368.

In response to a new outbreak of smallpox in Boston, the town adopted measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Amid growing concern that the recently inoculated were spreading the disease, the state legislature required that all who were inoculated be confined to a hospital. People at this time also believed that fumigating travelers in a smokehouse could help prevent importing the disease from infected areas.

At a meeting on September 10, it was voted that “the Selectmen be directed to make use of the best possible means to prevent the spreading of the small pox in this town, by the erecting of smoke houses in those parts of the town that they shall deem most necessary.” Other measures included providing a house for infected residents, and restricting goods brought from Boston that might be liable to spread the disease. The Selectmen were directed to prosecute any “person or persons that shall inoculate any person within the limits of this town until liberty is given by the town for inoculation.” (Town Records, 368)

Gloucester Town Records, 1753-1800. Vol. 3, 1800, http://archive.org/details/townrecords17531800 Archipedia New England. “Pest Houses & The Ephemeral Architecture of Quarantine.” https://www.archipedianewengland.org/pest-houses-the-ephemeral-architecture-of-quarantine/.
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