Arundel History

Containing 1917 Annapolis Blaze

February 25, 2007

In 1917, a February fire in an Annapolis pawnshop nearly led to a downtown conflagration in Market Square, now known as Market House. The Sun reported that the blaze sent the audience at the nearby Lyric Moving Picture Theatre rushing for the exits.

The city's "automobile engine" wasn't up to snuff, so the fire department resorted to using the old steam engine. The Naval Academy superintendent, Edward W. Eberle, sent two fireboats and some midshipmen to City Dock to assist the city's volunteer firefighters. The neighborly act might have saved the day. The fire broke out at 9 p.m., about the time that the day-after-Thanksgiving fire of 2005 broke out on Main Street.

The two-story pawnshop was gutted before the fire was contained. No one was killed. There was no word on whether the audience got to resume watching the moving picture.

[ Sources: The Sun's archives, Sun library researcher Paul McCardell]

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