Portland, ME Fire, Jul 1866 - The Burned District


Extent of the Losses----The Insurances---The Burnt District.

From our Eastern exchanges we extract the following additional particulars of the great fire in Portland on the night of the 4th of July:


A slip from the Portland Daily Press states that it is estimated that 1,500 buildings have been destroyed, including dwelling-houses, stores, churches, &c. The loss is estimated roughly at from ten to twelve millions of dollars. The heaviest losers are Hon. John B. Brown & Sons and Messrs. Churchill, Brown & Manson, who estimate their loss at about $1,000,000, on which there is insurance to the amount of $600,000. This does not include the buildings, many in number, owned by Mr. Brown personally. Eight churches were destroyed; First Baptist, Federal-street; St. Stephen's, Episcopalian, Pearl-street; Second Parish, Middle-street; Pearl-street Universalist; Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, Catholic, Cumberland-street; Swedenborgian, Congress-street; Bethel, Fore-street; and Third Parish, Congress-street. Seven hotels were burnt, the Elm, International, American, Commercial, Franklin, Kingsbury House and Sturtevant House; also, Wood's unfinished marble hotel.


Every newspaper office, all the banks, every lawyer's office, were destroyed. The most valuable articles in the vaults of the banks were removed, but the books and papers were left.

The streets wholly or in part burned over were as follows:

Commercial-street---From the coal-office of William H. Evans, near High-street, to Cotton-street, every building on the north side was burned.

York-street---Every building on the south side of the junction of Danforth-street, and on the north side three buildings next above Maple-street, and all below Maple and Danforth.

Maple-street----All the buildings between York and Danforth, save one on the corner of Maple and Danforth.

Danforth-street---All the buildings on the south side from Maple to Fore streets, and all on the north side from the Gore House.

Centre-street---The brick building on the western corner, and all the buildings on the eastern side nearly up to Spring-street.

Cotton-street---Three buildings on the west side, near Free-street, and six or eight on the other side. The fire here did not extend up to Free-street.

Plumb-street---Every building on both sides gone. Among those was the residence of Rev. Dr. Carruthers and the building of the Portland Atheneum.

Myrtle-street---From Congress to Cumberland nothing on the west side is gone but the city building. On the east side all the buildings but the two lower ones were destroyed.

Exchange-street---A mass of ruins. Corry's furniture establishment, all the book-stores, jeweler's shops, insurance offices, and everything save the Custom-house, from Fore-street to Congress-street.

Lime and Milk streets---Every vestige swept away, including the Milk-street and Warren markets. The fire extended clear through to Congress-street.

Temple-street---Everything in ashes from Middle to congress-street.

Free and Middle streets---The Free-street block was destroyed, with the exception of the store owned by Mr. Tolford, and every building on Middle-street, on both sides, from the junction of Free-street to India-street, with the single exception of the store of Messrs. D. F. Emery & Sons, which is untouched, though the adjoining stores on both sides of this were destroyed. Here were all the principal dry goods establishments.

Federal-street---The shop of Messrs. Marr Brothers and that of Dr. Mason, at the junction of Federal and Middle streets, were saved. On the south side of Federal-street every building from Chase & Co.'s hardware store to India-street has gone. On the north side, every building from and including the Elm House to India-street shared the same fate.

Congress-street---From Temple to India on the north side and from the City Hall to and including the Catholic school-house, above Washington-street, on the south side, all in ruin.

Cumberland-street---On the south side, all the buildings from Myrtle to Washington-street, and thence above Washington-street up Munjoy, are down. On the north side, all the buildings from the Radford House, corner of Pearl-street, are gone.

Oxford-street---In this street the fire was raging Thursday, but it was confined to the upper part, near Washington-street.

Washington-street---Several tenements were destroyed, but we have not learned the number.

Fore-street---With the exception of a block of three brick stores, belonging to the estate of John Fox, every building on the north side of this street, from Centre to India streets, is destroyed. On the south side of the street no buildings from Cross to India streets were touched.

Cross-street---Both sides completely cleaned out from Free to Middle streets.

Union-street---All gone. All the shoe and leather shops, Winslow's foundry, Grant's coffee and spice factory, and everything on both sides of the street.

Other-streets---In Silver, Willow, Vine, Deer, Chatham, Franklin and Hampshire streets every building was destroyed. The famous "Sebastopol" is among the things that were.

Great fears were entertained that the United States Hotel would go, but active exertions prevented the fire from catching the building. Had that building been burned the conflagration would have extended much farther.

The New York Times, New York, NY 10 Jul 1866