The Great Fires

There have been three major fires in the borough of Somerset during the town's history. The first occured on October 16, 1863 at two in the morning. The fire was started in the house owned by J. F. Cox, Esq. The fire consumed homes on both sides of the Cox house and quickly spread down the main street of town. Thirty families were homeless, much of the businesses destroyed, and an estimated $80,000 dollars damage done.

The second fire occured on May 9, 1872, during a dry spell. This fire started less than 100 feet from the first one. The fire began at 3 p.m. in the barn of Francis E. WEIMER. It is believed to have been started by a spark from the near by Somerset Foundry. Ninety buildings were destroyed, including churches, homes, businesses, offices, and hotels. The total losses were estimated at $300,000 dollars.

The third fire happened on May 4, 1876 in a stable near the Somerset Foundry. Several historic buildings and homes were destroyed and cost estimates were are $125,000.

(excerpted from Somerset Past, Vol VII, No. 2, pp. 13)