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Tudhope fire of 1909 wiped out town's chief industry — briefly

In the first of two-part series, we take a look back at two hours in time that sparked 'one of the greatest disasters in Orillia's manufacturing history'
229 Tudhope fire 1909
In 1909, a fire ravaged the Tudhope building at the corner of Colborne and Andrew streets in downtown Orillia.

Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau.

Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia.

One of the greatest disasters in Orillia’s manufacturing history occurred on Saturday, Aug. 22, 1909 when the Tudhope Carriage Works burned.

In the short space of two hours, over half-a-million dollars worth of property went up in smoke. Nothing but a heap of ashes remained of what had been for years the town’s chief industry.

Only a few people where working when the fire alarm was rung at 2:15 in the afternoon.

The fire started in the paint shop located near the centre of the block and by the time the hose wagon arrived it had quickly spread east and west. This photo was taken from the corner of Colborne and Andrew Streets. The white house was a landmark, the home of the Tudhope family for over a generation and although the fireman directed some attention to saving it, the house was lost to the flames.

Several other houses south on Andrew were also destroyed including the homes of J.A. Anderson, Thos. Tennant, Joseph Tiffin and Walter Cairns.

The factory buildings destroyed consisted of a large two-storey brick, plus two four-storey frame buildings as well as two warehouses and another large woodworking shop. 

More next week.