In 1850 the city of Groningen had received more substance with a new Academy building, that was partly financed by the city's inhabitants. During the first few years of the 20th century, numerous renovations were carried out to embellish the building even further. During one of these renovations the old layer of paint had to be burned off, which caused a small fire. The renovators assumed they extinguished the fire effectively, but a little later that day the entire upper floor of the building was ablaze. Under the firm supervision of the Queen's commisioner C.C. Geertsema many volunteers saved what could be saved. Nonetheless, the building and many valuables were destroyed in the fire.