Portland, ME City Hall Fire, Jan 1908

Portland City Hall, before the fire, photo from familyoldphotos.com Portland City Hall Fire, photo from familyoldphotos.com Portland City Hall Fire Portland City Hall Fire, photo from familyoldphotos.com Portland City Hall Fire, photo from familyoldphotos.com

Portland Has Big Blaze - City Hall and Public Building in Maine City Burned

Seven Hundred Persons at Pythian Jubilee in Peril - Property Loss is $1,000,000.

Portland, Me., Jan. 25.-- A fire which caused a property damage of $1,000,000 Friday destroyed the city hall and police buildings and endangered the lives of more than 700 persons. Although known as city hall the building was divided between city and county offices, while the police building sheltered the supreme, judicial and municipal courts in addition to the police department.  The fire was the worst in the state since the great Portland conflagration of 1866, when the city's business and residential sections were almost completely wiped out.

That there were no fatalities is remarkable, as there were more than 700 persons attending the Western Maine Knights of Pythias jubilee gathered in the auditorium of the city hall when the flames were discovered.  Only a few persons were hurt.  Chief Engineer Melville Eldridge being the only one known to be seriously injured, and he was able to direct the fight against the flames throughout, being supported by two assistants.  The financial loss is estimated at $1,000,000, but this sum will not cover the loss of the papers and documents in the registry of deeds, where everything was destroyed.

Other city departments were swept clear of everything by the flames with the exception of the city clerk's and city treasurer's offices, the money and securities in the later being believed to be intact, although it will be almost impossible to ascertain definitely until the vaults have cooled sufficiently for an examination to be made.  One of the most valuable libraries in the state, the Greenleaf law collection, was completely destroyed with a loss estimated at $10,000.

Iowa City Daily Press, Iowa City, IA  25 Jan 1908

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