The Great Fire / Le Grand incendie
The Museum in the Streets
On the morning of September 17, 1865, a fire began in the new, still unoccupied Dr. H. H. Hill building on the east side of Water Street, above Oak Street. An arsonist later convicted of setting a Portland fire was suspected, although nothing was ever proved. By the time the fire was brought under control at mid-day, it had consumed 81 buildings in downtown, including both sides of Water Street. Only heroic efforts by firemen and citizen volunteers (both men and women) using the city's new steam fire engine "Cushnoc" and the older hand-pump "Pacific"stopped the fire from sweeping north of Bridge Street. Hallowell, Gardiner, and Pittston engines aided in the effort. Out of this desolation rose the fine granite and brick buildings you see on Water Street today.
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Water Street in ruins, 1865
Erected by Augusta Historic Preservation Commission, Kennebec Savings Bank, and the Maine Community Foundation. (Marker Number 14.)
Location. 44° 18.928′ N, 69° 46.438′ W. Marker is in Augusta, Maine, in Kennebec County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Street and Oak Street, on the right when traveling north on Water Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 253 Water Street, Augusta ME 04330, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. They Were Superior Buildings / Des bâtiments pittoresques (a few steps from this marker); A New Look for Water Street / Un nouvel arrivant dans Water Street (a few steps from this marker); Market Square / La place du Marché (within shouting distance of this marker); Augusta's Publishing Empire / L'empire de l'édition à Augusta (within shouting distance of this marker); An Ornament to the City / Un joyau de la ville (within shouting distance of this marker); Steamboat Landing / L'embarquement des bateaux à vapeur (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Fort Western on the Kennebec (about 300 feet away); Granite Block / Un Bâtiment en granit (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Augusta.
Also see . . .
1. "GREAT FIRE IN AUGUSTA, MAINE.; The Business Portion of the City Destroyed." (NY Times 1865). (Submitted on December 8, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. "Augusta commemorates massive downtown fire of 1865." (Crosby, 2015). (Submitted on December 8, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. The Museum in the Streets Tour Map, Augusta, Maine. (Submitted on December 8, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Disasters •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 8, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 110 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 8, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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