Oct. 9, 1866: A fire that began about 3 a.m. burns until noon in Wiscasset, destroying more than 50 buildings, including the customs house, a hotel, a marble works and hay warehouses, as well as two yachts at the wharf.

A strong northeast wind makes it impossible to stop the fire, and it races to the waterfront, according to Portland’s Daily Eastern Argus newspaper.

Firefighters focus more on stopping the flames from spreading windward, to prevent the whole town from being incinerated.

More than 40 families are left homeless. Damages are valued at $200,000, the equivalent of about $3.5 million today.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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