In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Biddeford History & Heritage Project

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

Cities of Smoke and Soot

Shaw's Block ruins, Biddeford, 1872

Shaw's Block ruins, Biddeford, 1872

Item 29366 info
McArthur Public Library

This photograph by B. F. Cole has been made into a stereograph for a wooden viewfinder machine used in the late 19th century. The image shows the Pavilion Church (now McArthur Library) through the ruins of the Shaw Block. Civil engineer Charles Shaw built the block only sixteen years prior to its incineration on May 28, 1872. The block was located on the south side of Main Street, beginning at Jefferson Street and ran nearly half way to the City Building. This is just one instance of a blaze that swept up an entire block. Without the men of the local fire departments, the blaze would have consumed much more of the city.

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