Through the years there have been a number of terrible fires in Caldwell County, Kentucky. During the latter part of the 1800s the business section of Princeton was especially hard hit.
In April 1889, fire destroyed the following businesses in Princeton: the Opera House, including the Knights of Pythias Hall; Kevil & Brown, dry goods; J.A. Stegar & Co., clothing; A.C. Myers & Son, general merchants; Kaufman & Goldnamer, dry goods; Mrs. Boyd, millinery; J.E. Griffith’s photograph gallery. Several lawyers’ and doctors’offices also burnt. The loss was estimated at $60,000 with little insurance to cover the loss.
On 7 July 1893, in the very early morning hours a fire destroyed the Kevil corner, with the loss being estimated at $10,000. The fire was thought to have been of an incendiary origin or of “spontaneous combustion.”
The tobacco warehouse of Powell & Hollingsworth caught fire on 20 April 1896 and destroyed 900,000 pounds of tobacco. The loss was reputed to be $40,000.
In September of 1898, the block of buildings on Main street, known as the Bank Hotel, was destroyed by fire. The total loss was $50,000. Four business houses and the hotel property were destroyed. Insurance covered about three-quarters of the loss.
In spite of the numerous fires, buildings were rebuilt and business continued.