BANGOR'S GREAT FIRE OF 1911


Starting Point

J. Frank Green's hay shed at the start of the Bangor Fire. Fire fighters and citizens help with the hoses. Soon, the fire would be out of control.




Kenduskeag View

The 1911 Fire burns in 3 places as seen from the Kenduskeag. It started near the burning structure on the left and quicky jumped the stream, propelled by gusty winds.



State Street Bridge

Pedestrians walk over the State Street bridge in what remains of downtown Bangor. The debris of Bangor Savings Bank is on the right, with the burned out Customs House on the left.



Bangor Savings Bank

An unidentified man stands in front of the building housing Bangor Savings Bank, the Bangor Historical Society and the Bangor Public Library near the Kenduskeag Stream on State Street.




Cleanup

After the fire, the job of cleanup and reconstruction was immense. This man walks along State Street, the ruins of Bangor Savings Bank and the Morse Oliver building behind him.



Universalist Church Before

The Universalist Church on Park Street hill, before the fire. Center Park is in the foreground.




Universalist Church Ruins

The ruins of the Universalist Church on Park Street hill after the 1911 Fire. The church was later rebuilt from the surviving shell, but without its two steeples.



Graham Block Before

The Graham Block on the corner of Central and Harlow streets, before the fire.




Graham Block Ruins

The remains of the Graham Block, with the Universalist Church beyond.




Graham Block Rebuilt

The new Graham Building under construction on the corner of Harlow and Central streets.



Clean up on Exchange St.

Clean up along Exchange Street. The remains of the Morse Oliver building stands at the right, while the fire's stopping point, the Nichols Block, is on the left. The tower of Union Station is seen at the end of the street.



Morse Oliver Building

The Morse Oliver Building, on the corner of State and Exchange streets. At the time of the 1911 Fire it was Bangor's tallest building at seven stories.



Pedestrians

Pedestrians, including a military cadet from the University of Maine, view the damage.



First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church and Parsonage, at the corner of Broadway and State streets, before the fire.




Rebuilt All Souls

The rebuilt All Souls Congregational Church at the corner of Broadway and State streets.



Broadway

Families survey the destruction along Broadway, one of many neighborhoods destroyed by the fire.



Broadway and State

Surveying the losses in the vicinity of Broadway and State streets.



Customs House and Post Office Before

Bangor's Customs House and Post Office, before the fire. Located on an island in the Kenduskeag Stream, and across the street from Bangor Savings Bank, its position was at the heart of the fire downtown.




Tarratine Club Survives

The ruins of the fire, including views of State, Harlow and Park strrets. The Customs House is in the foregound (left) with the Universalist Church beyond. The surviving Tarratine Club can be seen on Park Street hill to the right of the church.



Norumbega Before

Norumbega Hall, on an island in the middle of the Kenduskeag Stream, before the fire. By 1911 this grand building was being used as a furniture store and storage but in its prime it accomodated crowds of thousands for memorable gatherings. A park exists on the site today, part of a post-fire planned firebreak.



Franklin St. Bridge

Children pose on the Franklin Street bridge over the Kenduskeag Stream. Behind them are the ruins of the Graham Block (left) and the Customs House (right).




Franklin St.

Pedestrians along Franklin Street and the Franklin Street bridge.

Interactive map of the Great Bangor Fire and its effect. Roll over each location to see photos of affected buildings.

Brewer Scouts won acclaim for their work during Bangor’s Great Fire

Posted April 29, 2011, at 11:55 a.m.
Last modified April 29, 2011, at 2:24 p.m.

The Brewer Congregational Scouts, now known as Boy Scout Troop 1 in Brewer, were called into action during Bangor’s Great Fire 100 years ago to guard the city — at one point even turning away the governor when he tried to tour the damaged downtown.

“An organized unit, with uniforms, they were quickly pressed into service to keep an orderly patrol of the fire swept district, and did a good job of it, patrolling the streets by day, and being relieved at night by ROTC students at the University of Maine,” according to a Feb. 10, 1938, Bangor Daily News article.

Their job was to keep out all unauthorized visitors from the fire-ravaged area. A Brewer Scout stopped Maine Gov. Frederick W. Plaisted from entering the restricted zone and in doing so thrust the fledgling Scouting organization into the limelight.

“Gov. Frederick W. Plaisted and party, coming over from Augusta, were stopped as they tried to enter the fire zone by one of the scouts, who explained to them that he had orders not to let anyone pass without an order from the police department,” the 1938 BDN story states.

“Mr. Plaisted then explained that he was the governor and that it would be all right for him and his party to go through. The scout, however, stuck to his instructions, insisting that orders were orders, and it ended with the governor going to the police department for his permit.”

Later that night at a public address in Bangor, Plaisted praised the work of the Scouts and a month later — on Memorial Day 1911 — issued the Brewer Congregational Scouts a citation for their unwavering attention to duty, the article states.

The news of the Scout’s service during the Great Fire spread quickly to other areas of the country.

“The Bangor patrols of the Boy Scouts and those from nearby towns came in for much praise today for their manly conduct in offering their services to Mayor [Charles W.] Mullen,” a May 1911 Trenton, N.J., Evening Times article stated. “The youngsters were found available for messenger service and caring for frightened women and girls, and they nobly performed the duties assigned to them.”

The troop was chartered on Oct. 25, 1909, predating the Boy Scouts of America by four months, and were first organized under the Boy Scouts of England.

The Brewer group’s original Scout badges came from England and the red and blue emblems, decorated with “BC Scouts,” are still used today to honor the unit’s history.

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