1830The “Great Fire” on Front Street occurred.Events & Anniversaries, Events, Fires

An appeal from the selectmen in Gloucester for charity from nearby towns after the Great Fire. Courtesy of Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, D6, FF28
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On September 16, 1830, at about four o’clock in the morning, a fire started in the rear part of a large building at the corner of Front and Commercial Streets, which housed a store and the living quarters of Samuel Gilbert, and quickly spread. By the end, the only building left standing between the Town Landing and Central Wharf was Mr. Stacy’s house, at the head of the lane leading to the wharf. In all, 40 homes and 60 stores were destroyed.

The absence of an unusual number of men who were taking advantage of good fishing weather led to a number of women taking part in fire suppression efforts. Additionally, a group of “Penobscot Indians” happened to be in Gloucester that day and assisted with putting out the fire.

An inefficient fire department and a rising wind soon after the flames broke out all contributed to the fire’s spread. While the owners of the burnt properties suffered, the fire did not affect the prosperity of the town. The economic boost of previous years brought on by the success of the fisheries protected the overall health of the community.

Babson, John James, and Samuel Chandler. History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Anne, Including the Town of Rockport. Gloucester [Mass.] Procter brothers, 1860, http://archive.org/details/historytownglou00changoog Gloucester Telegraph. "Distressing Fire!" September 18, 1830.
Gloucester Telegraph. September 18, 1830.
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