Monadnock Moments No. 90: The Silsby Fire
In April of 1887, Troy, New Hampshire suffered one of the worst fires in the town’s history. At 3:00 o’clock on the morning of April 13, Edgar Dwight, the night watchman at the Troy Blanket Mills, noticed flames in the bark room of the Silsby Tannery. The fire spread quickly and the tannery was fully engulfed in flames by the time the engine company arrived. The heat drove the firemen back and, realizing that they could not save the tannery, they attempted to save other buildings nearby. The Keene steam fire engine was called in to assist.
Despite the heroic efforts of the fire departments, the fire spread to a nearby barn, tenement, and picture frame shop. People who lived in the tenement were driven from their rooms. There was more than $20,000 in damage when the flames were finally extinguished. The tannery, valued at $10,000, was totally destroyed, as were the picture frame shop, a tenement building, and barn belonging to the Troy Blanket Mills. Other structures nearby were damaged and some 35 jobs were lost due to the fire.
Despite the economic loss to the town, no one was seriously injured in the blaze and the destruction led to the purchase of a new steam engine and hose wagon a few years later.