Skip to content Skip to footer

The Silver Lake Fire of 1894

The Tragic Story of the Silver Lake Fire of 1894

Not many people know that the deadliest fire in Oregon history occurred on Christmas Eve in 1894 in Silver Lake, Oregon. On the historic fateful evening, holiday festivities were underway at the J.H. Clayton Community Hall above the town general store. An evening that began as a joyous Christmas celebration gathering over 200 guests for music, dancing and gift exchanges soon turned tragic as an accidental oil lamp fire broke out and turned the night into a deadly inferno. The blaze tore apart the entire wooden building and left 43 people dead in its wake. 

Lynne Hasselman via and Sam Stern via each provide fascinating details in their respective articles about the fateful evening, a tragic event that deeply scarred our community for decades.