Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

November 2, 2013

NIAGARA DISCOVERIES: The Great Fire of 1854

The Great Fire of 1854 left Lockport canalside in ashes

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Today marks the 159th anniversary of the Great Lockport Fire of 1854.

On a windy Thursday evening at about 8 p.m., in the Lockport Hotel (now the site of City Hall) on Canal Street, a lighted lamp was knocked over and started a fire in that building. The strong southwest wind carried the flames along the street, taking one structure after another. 

When the fire reached the corner of Canal and Niagara streets, a large three-story brick building was at that intersection. The building was no match for the fire and the flames spread down Niagara toward Transit Street. Before reaching that intersection, the fire turned northward and headed for the Congregational Church across Niagara Street.

The wooden church soon met the fate of the other buildings and the fire continued its relentless march. Next came the Methodist Church (present site of Zimmie’s) and several buildings on the east side of Church Street including Fire Engine House No. 3 and those structures behind them on Canal Street.

The next building in the fire’s path was the stone Universalist Church (now the Erie Canal Discovery Center). By this time, the exhausted firemen and volunteer citizens of Lockport had stopped the fire from making any further progress. The Universalist and Presbyterian Churches sustained damage but were not destroyed.

The wind that night played a major role in allowing the fire to spread so quickly, but primitive firefighting techniques and equipment also hampered the efforts to bring the blaze under control sooner. 

By village law, every home and business was required to have one bucket of water near every fireplace. By 1854, several fire companies had already been established throughout the village that had extra buckets for residents to use against the fire. There were also “pumpers” available to fight larger fires. However, these pumpers had low hold capacities and ran out of water quickly. Refilling the tank required a nearby water source, such as a well or even the canal. A suction hose would draw the water into the pumper and six men would be needed to pump the water on to the fire. This activity would have to be repeated over and over again until the fire was under control.

Text Only
Opinion
Featured Ads
Community Events
Photos


Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Front page
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Seasonal Content
Helium debate
Helium
Section Teases

Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.