A few days ago Susan Worcester, the president of the B-BJHS, received an email from Donald Martin who shared a URL for an EBay collection of antique photo post cards of Brownville. Susan posted the email with the URL included here. Click here: Brownville Maine | eBay
One of the post cards has a photo of Saint John’s Episcopal Church with its original steeple. A rare find considering the steeple was destroyed during the Great Brownville Junction Fire.
Another interesting aspect of the photo are the buildings that appear in the background. The photo was shot from a vantage point looking southeast from the northwest corner of Center and Henderson Streets and the subject buildings appear in the background.
These buildings were located on the south side of Main Street (now Railroad Avenue) between where the Main Street Garage (new fire station) was situated and the next existing building looking west. From this writer’s prospective there could have been as many as 8 buildings located at the location involved in the fire. The structures that were located here were probably erected during the construction boom that occurred during 1888 and 1898. Sparks generated during this great fire drifted north and ignited a secondary fire that consumed Saint John’s steeple.
Historically speaking this photo postcard gives a unique perspective of the town as it existed. The Brownville – Brownville Junction Historical Society invites anyone that may have information related to the Great Brownville Junction Fire to tell your story. This is another missing link in our past that deserves preserving.
What is The Society specifically looking for?
Details related to dates and possible causes of the fire.
What buildings were located at this location?
Whose lives were impacted?
Were any of the businesses or homes rebuilt elsewhere?
Why were the buildings that were located here not rebuilt?
Why did this particular location remain vacant from that point in history to today?
So many questions and so little time. We need your help finding and assembling the puzzle pieces for this story. If you are so inclined, pen a story that addresses the subject. Don’t forget, aural history in the form of stories, if you have any, are also important, need to be documented, and added to the record.
The museum has a newspaper article from the Piscataquis Observer that documented the fire 7 days after the fact so there are probably missing facts that went unreported. Most of the people who lost their homes, shops and buildings had taken refuge in other areas of town and other locales; some even left the country.