Ridgefield in Fairfield County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
The Great Fire of 1895
— The Museum in the Streets —
The East Side of Main Street as it appeared the day after the devastating fire of 1895. (See Panel #17 for a description of the fire.)
Barhite & Valden General Store and the Western Union telegraph office next door were located just north of the Gage building, where the fire started on December 8, 1895. All three buildings burned to the ground. The Gage building housed Bedient and Mead Furniture and Undertaking. Bedient bought out his partner's share and after rebuilding opened under the name of D.F. Bedient. The business that was started as King and Dole in 1783 in the building known as "Old Hundred" at 258 Main Street remained at its present site another 100 years.
Town Hall, built in 1876, also burned to the ground in the fire. The present building was erected in 1896 at a cost of $16,000 with the financial assistance of "the summer people" (see Panel #4). It served as a center for all civic and social functions from 1896 until 1939. The first motion pictures were shown here early in the 20th century.
Erected by The Museum in the Streets®. (Marker
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the The Museum in the Streets®: Ridgefield, Connecticut series list. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1981.
Location. 41° 16.884′ N, 73° 29.897′ W. Marker is in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in Fairfield County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (Connecticut Route 35) and Bailey Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Main Street. Located in front of Ridgefield Town Hall. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 400 Main Street, Ridgefield CT 06877, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Much-Loved Old Church and a Watering Trough for Horses (within shouting distance of this marker); Ridgefield, Connecticut (within shouting distance of this marker); More of the Great Fire (within shouting distance of this marker); The Village Center in the Early 1900s (within shouting distance of this marker); The Livery Stable and the First Catholic Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bissell's – Destroyed by Two Conflagrations (about 400 feet away); The Village in the 1900s (about 400 feet away); The Original Episcopal Church (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ridgefield.
More about this marker. The photos on the marker show the devastation on Main Street from the fire and the town hall built the following year.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take the Museum in the Streets Walking Tour in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 6, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 1,129 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 6, 2010, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.