Like all great cities, including London and Chicago, Augusta once experienced a devastating fire that brought the city of (then) 7,770 people to a standstill.

According to the KJ, the first started at 5 AM on the morning of September 17th, 1865.  It burned the majority of the businesses on Water Street including all the law offices, every bank, several hotels, and many shops and restaurants.  In all, about 100 buildings were burned.

 

Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the blaze.

Several factors contributed to the severity of the fire.  On top of a months long drought experienced by the region, a breeze off the Kennebec River and Augusta's wooden sidewalks (boardwalks) allowed the fire to hop from building to building.

The Portland Press Herald has an amazing interactive map of what Augusta was like at the time of the fire.