9 – Dover’s Black Day

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Dover’s Black Day – March 1, 1896 – 385-421 Central Ave

The devastating flood of March 1, 1896 left Dover’s downtown a shambles. This photo, taken from the Cochecho mills, shows the damage to the Central Avenue Bridge and dam and the near-destruction of the Bracewell Block on the river’s north side.

Constructed for $40,000 in 1877 by Col. John Bracewell, this commercial block housed over a dozen upscale Dover businesses and professional offices and spanned the river from First Street to J.H. Winslow’s store. The portion of the building standing directly over the river on granite piers was swept away and one of the piers, weighing 700 pounds, was found, days later, washed up on a lawn in New Castle. On the right, stand the Wood and machine Shops of the Cochecho Manufacturing Company, portions of which have survived to this day.

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