Hookset, NH Railroad Bridge Fire, Oct 1857

Great Fire at Hooksett.

The Concord Railroad Bridge over the Merrimack River at Hooksett, took fire about 12 o'clock Wednesday night, in the roof about one hundred feet from the easterly end of the Bridge soon after the passage of the Vermont Central Freight Train.

The Station Agent and Watchman, Mr. Wheeler, passed over the bridge immediately after the crossing of the Freight Train and returned, but the fire was not discovered until just as the was leaving the westerly end of the bridge. It had caught between the sheathing and the roof so as not to be at first visible, at such an elevation as to be difficult of access. Alarm was immediately given, and every effort made to stop the progress of the fire, but proved unavailing, and in a very few minutes the whole roof of the bridge was in flames.

The wind carried the flames so as to reach the Highway Bridge immediately north of the Railroad Bridge which was also burnt, together with the store near the westerly end of the Railroad Bridge occupied by J. T. Goss.

The President of the Road, Judge Upham, and Mr. Gilmore, the Superintendent, came down from Concord at 2 o'clock the next morning and arrangements are making for the immediate passing of trains. Passengers and baggage will pass the river with very slight detention. A temporary bridge for foot passengers will be immediately constructed across the piers of the Highway Bridge.

The Company have on hand timber sufficient for the construction of a new bridge, which is thoroughly seasoned and was supplied some years since in order to be fully prepared for such a contingency.

Messrs. Dutton Woods and E. L. Childs, well known bridge builders, have been engaged for the construction of a new Railroad Bridge, and commenced Thursday morning upon it. A new bridge for the full passage of Freight and Passenger Trains will be completed in from three to four weeks. Temporary arrangements will be made for the present with other roads for passing freight trains to Concord and north of there.

Insurance on the Railroad Bridge, 15,000.--- The piers and abutments are uninjured. There was no insurance on the town bridge. The store was owned by W. P. Farmer. The stock in Goss' store was valued at between three and four thousand dollars. Insured in the Atlantic company at Providence for $2,500. The wood work of the bridge cost about $20,000.

The Farmers' Cabinet, Amherst, NH 7 Oct 1857