The Night Old Orchard Burned
Old Orchard Beach was once a blue-blood getaway, but a "mighty conflagration" a century ago helped bring that to an end.
By the time the fire burned itself out, 17 grand hotels were burned to the ground, 116 businesses were destroyed and about 47 cottages and boarding house were gone. The next morning the ash was knee deep.Three men were killed when a drug store's soda fountain exploded in the fire.
The fire, which started at about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 15, swept down East Grand Avenue to Brisson Avenue and up into the downtown area as far as Frances Street. About 5,000 people were displaced – most of them summer visitors.
Many thousands of people spent the night on the beach. Residents of Old Orchard Beach, not affected by the fire, also took in those who had nowhere else to go. [Link]