Late at night on July 5, 1880, while most of Pensacola's citizens were sleeping, flames erupted from Cheap John's Clothing Store. The flames became a blaze that eventually destroyed most of the buildings west of the public square. Five months later, an even more devastating fire consumed Pensacola's downtown business district. On December 11, over 100 buildings burned, including Pensacola's two newspaper buildings, every drug store, stationery store, and even the telegraph offices. As the year 1880 ended, over ninety percent of Pensacola's commercial structures had succumbed to flames, and antebellum Pensacola lay in ruins.1
"Pensacola's Cast Iron Architecture,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 94:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol94/iss4/3