Portland, ME Fire, Jul 1866
From Maine, PORTLAND, July 4.
A terrible fire is raging here, having destroyed Brown's sugar house, and is sweeping through the city before a strong southern wind.
8 p.m.: The fire caught in the building above the sugar house on Commercial street, and has swept northerly through that street into the wooden buildings' between Centre and Cross streets consuming everything as it goes. J. B. Brown & Son's loss amounts to from $500,000 to $700,000. Insured for $800,000. Staples & Son's machine shop, and N. H. Richardson & Co's stove foundry are completely destroyed. One fire engine just come from Saco.
From Maine. PORTLAND, July 5.
The fire has completely swept through the city destroying everything in its track so completely that the lines of the streets can hardly be traced for a space of one and a half miles long by a quarter mile wide. many buildings perhaps 50, were blown up to check the flames, but the inhabitants could scarcely more than flee with their families to the upper part of the city, saving as many goods as they could carry. The Custom House being fire-proof, escaped, though greatly damaged. The court records in the upper story are probably destroyed. The splendid city and costly building on Congress street, which was nearly fire-proof and was considered safe, and it was filled full of furniture by neighboring residents and then it was swept away with all of its contents. Half of the city is destroyed, and that half includes nearly all the business portion excepting the heavy business in Commercial street. All of the banks and newspaper offices are burned; but three establishments, wholesale dry good store, several churches, the telegraph offices, nearly all the stationery stores and a majority of business places are destroyed.
The fire is still raging below Cumberland street, working back to the westward, the wind having changed. Captain Henry Inman have changed. Captain Henry Inman has telegraphed for 1,500 tents to accommodate the homeless families.
PORTLAND, Me., July 5.
The fire commenced a little below the foot of High street. It next burned Upham's flouring mill, and then Mr. Brown's sugar house, with all their surroundings, then Staples & Sons, and Richardson's foundries, and nothing else of a commercial character of consequence.
It next swept what is called Graham's corner, composed of smaller wooden buildings. It then burned up as far as the old Varnam House, on Pleasant street; a third of the way up Center, and half the way up Collins, completely up Cross street, Union street, Temple street and Exchange street.
It swept down, on the northern side, first to India street on the east, while on the west it moved diagonally across Middle street and down to Cumberland, taking Elm House but sparing the first Parish church. Then a clean sweep, also on the southerly side of Cumberland street; and the same was the case with Congress street, and everything else to Free street, and as far east as India Street.
It is almost impossible to tell where the people lived, the ruin and destruction is so complete.
Daily Iowa State, Des Moines, IA 6 Jul 1866
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