Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brick Buildings

On November 10, 1892, Camden was devastated by an enormous disaster that became known simply as "the Great Fire." It began at 1 a.m. in George Cleveland's building on the east side of Main street and by the time the alarm was given it was raging and growing fast. The fire department responded valiantly but their equipment wasn't up to the task and at some point the water pressure from their hydrants gave out. A stiff wind off the water drove the flames across the street and by the time the fire was knocked down at dawn it had destroyed a great portion of the downtown. If a snow squall hadn't dampened roofs in the west part of the village shortly after the fire began, the catastrophe may have been far worse. The exact cause of the fire was never definitively determined, but it was most likely a heater.

Fortunately most of the property owners downtown were insured, and they set about rebuilding as soon as possible. As a precaution the town prohibited permanent wood structures in the downtown area, which is why so many buildings there today are brick.

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