Downtown Fire of 1894, Front Street, Bath

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Starting in a stable at the rear of the Sagadahock House, the great fire in January of 1894 destroyed nearly a quarter of a million dollars of property and goods in downtown Bath. This photo, taken by J.C. Higgins from the intersection of Front and Centre Streets, looks northward on Front Street. In the foreground, on the west side of Front are the remains of the Sagadahock House. The large brick building on the left side of the photograph, in the far background, is where the fire was finally contained to the point of dying out. The fire was severe enough that fire companies from Brunswick and Lewiston were called in to aid the Bath firefighters in putting out the massive blaze. Because of a waterline break near the New Meadows River, water was not flowing to the hydrants along Front Street, severely hindering the speed and efficiency of fighting the fire. Many of the storekeepers moved their goods to neighboring stores, only to have to move them again. This photograph was taken after the fire, when the smoke had pretty much cleared from the sky. In all, Bath's downtown was quite badly hurt, but it was quickly rebuilt to a similar level of vitality.

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