Fire sweeps through part of historic Tappahannock street

This aerial photograph shows the extent of the Friday, July 15, fire in Tappahannock’s historic district. In the foreground is Queen Street, Water Street is to the left and a block over, Prince Street. Photo courtesy of J. Paul Welch II

by Jackie Nunnery

TAPPAHANNOCK—Prince Street in Tappahannock contains some of the oldest buildings in town, some of them built before or near 1680 when the town was established. A fast moving fire on the morning of Friday, July 15, put lives and livelihoods, houses and history in jeopardy, ultimately claiming nearly an entire block.

Martin-Sale Furniture, where the fire started, was destroyed along with Tiffany Properties, the Prince Street Café and the apartments above the retail spaces, where a pet cat was reported to have died. Next door, Rivah Hair Studio along with the historic Ritchie House were left standing. Tappahannock’s proximity to the Rappahannock River proved beneficial once again as firefighters pumped water directly from the river to help put out the fast moving flames when the town water supply was overwhelmed. The nearby Downing Bridge was closed for several hours while firefighters battled the blaze that reached buildings on….

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