The Gun Mill in Flames

Short Sketches on Passaic County History, 1935, 
 Edward Graf, Treasurer PCHS)

About a quarter to eight on the morning of March 12, 1863 the citizens of Paterson were startled by something unusual; the alarm of fire.  It was soon discovered that the old Gun mill (better known at the time as Ryle’s Mill) was on fire.

Although the firemen were quickly on the spot, due to a brisk wind blowing the flames gained considerable headway.  In a few minutes the whole roof was in a blaze and as the burning timbers fell below, it set fire to the lower floors.  The Gun mill at this time was four stories high with a belfry.  The belfry was soon ignited and blazed for a considerable time.  It was never rebuilt.

The building had been used as a cotton mill, two or three firms doing business in the different stories.  The first floor was fitted with silk machinery but had not been in operation for some time.  For a while there were fears that the old landmark, the Yellow Mill would catch fire, as the wind was blowing in that direction, and the firemen were stationed on the roof with hose, to prevent such a catastrophe.  There seemed to be no danger of Scott’s mill taking fire, although located very near the Gun mill.