The Fire That Almost Wiped Out Part of Bridge Street



In March of 1963 a furnace explosion began a terrible fire which caused an estimated $75,000 of damage on Bridge Street in Carleton Place. The Esquire Specialty Dress Shop and two unoccupied apartments above the store were completely destroyed. The owner of the building was Elizabeth McNeely.


Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


Mrs. Victoria Fletcher operator of the Esquire Dress Shop was almost overcome by smoke when she entered her place of business at 8:40 am that day. She became lost for a few moments in the dense smoke and finally found her way back out, and called the Fire dept. Her entire Spring stock was lost with a damage estimation of over $15,000. Sadly, it was was only partially covered by insurance. Damage to the building was between $50,000-$60,000.



Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


The fire grew quickly causing the roof of McNeely’s building to cave in and began to spread to the adjoining buildings.The local firemen saved the drug store owned by Gordon Gilchrist and the Maher Shoe Store. The buildings destroyed were where once Ballygiblin’s once stood. (Figured that out last walking tour but forgot to change it..Thanks Joann Voyce)


About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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