Greensburg, PA Fire, Sept 1858
THE GREAT FIRE OF 1858.
About two o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, the 21st of September, 1858, a fire broke out in a stable of Jeremiah Gilchrist on a lot back of his residence, in the lower part of the square upon which is now the Masonic building, and before it could be checked or got under control destroyed that whole portion of the square and the residence of John M. Loor, in which was the post-office, on the corner diagonally to the Kuhns Block. The loss was estimated at $30,000, which, considering the enhanced value of real estate in town now, was at that time regarded, as it really was, of great magnitude. Much personal property was either lost by the fire or was stolen. For a long time it was doubtful whether the town could be saved, but after three hours’ hard work on the part of the firemen and the citizens generally the fire was checked.
The ground remained long after vacant, and presented a desolate appearance with its debris exposed. At length the first building erected in the "burnt district" was a small building used for a tailoring-shop, and the next, Gen. Foster’s law-office. At length the ground changed hands, and now the finest buildings and the most costly cover the site of that former eye-sore and add greatly to the wealth and architectural beauty of the town.
History of Westmoreland County, PA 1882