Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Ashes of Annapolis Royal's Great Fire - 1921

Annapolis Royal is a town with many old wooden buildings. While this is a treasure trove for those interested in architectural heritage, in the right circumstances, there is the potential for serious fires. On September 7, 1921 a fire was started in the livery stable of the Queen Hotel by a young boy. As the story goes, 12 year old Tommy Miller was wondering how long it would take people to put the fire out. Sadly, the summer of 1921 had been particularly dry and there were problems with the Town's water supply. Even after the Neptune steam fire engine arrived on the train from Yarmouth to pump salt water from the Annapolis Basin, the fire continued to burn. After destroying 21 buildings and causing damage estimated in 1921 at half a million dollars, the fire was indeed extinguished. By that time, much of Annapolis Royal's business district was destroyed. It is not clear what became of Tommy Miller.

This photograph was taken shortly after the fire. Since there are not many buildings, this is almost a difficult scene to identify. The roads themselves provide some landmarks. Victoria Street runs along the left side of the image and St George Street along the right. The building standing in the background in the middle of the picture is St Luke's Anglican Church. A scene like this reminds me how thankful I am that we have the services of the Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department.

All for now,
RGS

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