Coudersport, PA Fire, May 1880




Every Store, One Hotel, the PostOffice and many buildings ... Loss Fully $250,000

Special dispatch to the Gazette and Bulleting

COUDERSPORT, May 18. The entire business portion of the borough of Coudersport is in ashes. Every store, one hotel and the postoffice, are gone. The court house is standing, also Baker's Hotel. The fire caught this afternoon in a frame row of buildings on the west side of Main street, between Second and Third, and swept everything in its course from Third street to First on Main street. Then the wind suddenly veering it crossed Main street and cleaned the square to East street. The Enterprise printing office is burned, but the Journal office is saved. There was a great scarcity of water, which, with the extreme dryness of everything, enabled the fire to spread rapidly when it got fairly under headway.


The following properties were burned on the west side of Main street, between Second and Third streets, going south:

Drug, bookstore and postoffice, on the corner of Third and Main, owned by Thompson and Mann

Hardware store of H. J. Olmsted & Sons, and banking office of Jones & Son. On the second floor, law office of L. H. Cobb. Third floor, Masonic Hall.

Grocery store of Andrews and Olmstead.

Drug store of C. L. Jones & Co.

Harness shop of Ignatez Grisel.

Grocery and dwelling of Edward Fosters.

Drug store and grocery of Amos French.

Billiard room, oyster saloon and barber shop. Name not learned. Second floor occupied by a dentist.

General store of P. A. Stebbins & Brother. This firm did a large business. The building stood on the corner of Second street, opposite the court house. A number of outbuildings, store rooms, stables, etc., were also burned.


The fire then jumped Second street and continued south on Main, destroying the Coudersport Hotel, kept by D. F. Glassmire, jr.

Barn and dwelling of Mrs. A. C. Haven, and all buildings on this block to First street.


The wind then changed to the east, and the fire crossing Main street destroyed the following properties on Second street, between Main and East streets:

General store of D. F. Glassmire. The second story occupied by offices and sleeping rooms for the hotel opposite. A building south of the store and the barn were also burned.

The Dike block, east half occupied by bakery and dwelling of F. J. Andersen, and the west half by Jewelry store of E. O. Rees. Second floor by dwelling of R. W. Nill's.

Grain and provision store of Marble & Thompson. Second floor occupied as a photograph gallery.

Restaurant, dwelling and ten pin alley.

Law office of Olmsted & Larrabee.

Shoe shop and dwelling of C. Zimmerman.

Large hardware store of Norton & Deane. The Enterprise printing office was on the second floor of this building.


Sweeping south on East street, the fire next attacked the meat market of Peter Hallaner, and the shoe shop and dwelling of Valentine Kline. On this block a number of outbuildings were also destroyed. It will thus be seen that the fire consumed the buildings on three blocks; lying to the west, southwest, and to the south of the Court House square. Owing to the fact that the fire not crossing East street the county jail was saved. A number of other buildings were destroyed.


The losses will fully reach $250,000, and may exceed that sum. The store of P. A. Stebbins & Brother was insured for $2,000. This is the only insurance that has been learned.

Daily Gazette and Bulletin, Williamsport, PA 19 May 1880





The Fire Started in An Oil Warehouse in Rear of Stebbin's Store The Loss Not Less than $230,000 and the Insurance About $75,000

Later accounts from Coudersport say that the fire started about 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon in the rear room of Stebbins Bros. store, used for storing oil. The town was without a water supply or fire apparatus, and nothing could be done to check the fire, which burned rapidly. By five o'clock every dwelling store and place of business in the town, except the court house, Baker's hotel, Mausin's office and Journal printing office, were laid in ashes. There were about forty buildings in all destroyed. Loss probably $250,000; insurance, $75,000. No lives are reported lost. The loss falls heavily on the people, as the insurance was light, and the fact that all the stores were destroyed makes it still works. Coudersport has no railroad communication with the outer world the nearest port being Port Allegheny [sic], seventeen miles away, were connection is made with the Emporium and Buffalo railroad. At this point travelers take a stage [to] town. The only telegraphic communication is by the wires of the Tidewater pipe company. The population of Coudersport is about 1,500, and it is located on the banks of the Allegany river, high up in the mountains.


In addition to the list of buildings burned the following were consumed: Dry goods store of E. N. Stebbins, Main street, opposite court house; grocery of C. H. Armstrong, Second street, east of Main; communication is still interrupted, and definite information as to the losses and insurances has not been received.

Daily Gazette and Bulletin, Williamsport, PA 19 May 1880

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