100 Years Ago

 


  BANGOR, ME: MAY 1, 1911 — A late-afternoon fire that began a day earlier was finally brought under control after midnight. The blaze originated in a hay shed near the corner of Broad and Union streets, apparently started by a cigarette cast aside during a poker game. The flames swept...


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Thousands of spectators drawn by the eerie red glow of the fire descended on the park and watched as the fire marched across the park. At 3:10, the huge Dreamland Tower, which had been burning like a roman candle for more than 30 minutes, fell with a fiery crash. The wind eventually changed, sending the gasping crowd home. With this help, firemen stopped the last of the flames. As the sun rose the next morning, Dreamland had been transformed into 15 acres of blackened, smoking ruins. The loss was more than $5 million. The park's board of directors later sold the land back to the city.

PAUL HASHAGEN, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a retired FDNY firefighter who was assigned to Rescue 1 in Manhattan. He is also an ex-chief of the Freeport, NY, Fire Department. Hashagen is the author of FDNY: The Bravest, An Illustrated History 1865–2002, the official history of the New York City Fire Department, and other fire service books. His latest novel, Fire of God, is available at dmcfirebooks.com.