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Biddeford History & Heritage Project

Sharing the history of a proud city rising where the water falls

Cities of Smoke and Soot

Ruins of Deering and Son's Lumber Company, Biddeford, 1913

Ruins of Deering and Son's Lumber Company, Biddeford, 1913

Item 99396 info
McArthur Public Library

Charles E. Moody vividly captured how much damage was done to the J. G. Deering and Son's lumberyard on February 9, 1913. Two Walnut Street residents discovered the fire in the planing mill at 11:10 PM and quickly attempted to snuff the flames with the emergency hose before they swept the entire 150 foot long mill building. Police Officer John Norton came upon the blaze and quickly alerted the Biddeford Fire Department from Box 23 from just inside the lumberyard gates.

The owner of the mill, Frank C. Deering commented to the Biddeford Daily Journal that the fire must have been the work of an arsonist. Mr. Deering mentioned several coincidences in connection with the fire, claiming that there had been several attempts to set fire to the mill at the same time over the past three Saturdays. The Lafayette house (aka Spring's Tavern) was used as the business office for the company and was in danger due to the fire's proximity. Luckily, the amount of snow and the opposite direction of the blowing wind ensured that the colonial building did not receive any damage. Deering suffered $40,000 dollars worth of damage but was ensured insured for $30,000, limiting the overall cost of the repairs.

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