On November 19, 1883, a horrible fire started in the kitchen of the Centennial Hotel, where the Moose Lodge is located today, which almost completely destroyed the town. Gusty winds between 50 and 60 miles per hour fanned the fire quickly, engulfing homes and businesses. Many residents suffered loss. Most businesses, including the town's saloons and six churches, were all destroyed in just a few hours.
After the fire, the building material of choice became brick or tin, as part of a new city ordinance. The first firehouse was built in 1891 on Jackson Street, and the very first jailhouse was built alongside it.
Disaster struck again on April 22, 1892 in the form of a major earthquake. Many of the brick buildings were damaged in the downtown area. Two fires broke out on First Street, but the new fire hydrants helped firemen to quickly put out the blaze.
In 1899, the Capitol Hotel opened on the corner of First and A streets. By 1908, the owners of Dawson's Cigar Store were the first to serve beer in Dixon.