Another Conflagration: 4th Blaze in the History of Walnut: The Walnut Bureau – September 9, 1892

From the Walnut Bureau, Friday, September 9, 1892

The Fourth Blaze in the History of Walnut.

If there is one town in Iowa more than another that has been the especial victim of the fire fiend that town is Walnut.

Fate seems to have decreed her the particular object for destruction by fire.

The fourth, and the least destructive, of fires in this place, broke out at an early hour Monday morning in the cob and coal room of the big grain elevator belonging to the Davenport Glucose Company.

When first discovered, at about four o’clock, the flames were bursting through the roof of the cob and engine house and were communicated rapidly to the top of the elevator by means of the dust spout.

The flames spread rapidly, gaining headway steadily until the entire building, together with its contents, machinery and grain, were destroyed.

From the nature of the building and contents it was impossible to save any part of either and the population of the town stood by and calmly witnessed its transformation into smoke.

The elevator was put up in the fall of 1887, after the August fire, by Spangler & Schofield and cost, when ready for operation, nearly eleven thousand dollars.

It was the largest grain elevator between Des Moines and Council Bluffs, having an actual storage capacity of forty-eight thousand bushels.

It contained when burned about nine thousand bushels of corn, all of which was burned or damaged so badly as to be a total loss.

Upon the whole was insurance to the amount of $11,000, distributed among five companies.

The general superintendent of the company is in New York at present and it is not known whether the elevator will be rebuilt immediately by them or not, but the supposition is that it will.

The origin of the fire is a mystery and will probably ever remain so. Popular belief attributes it to spontaneous combustion.

It is a coincidence that this blaze started in almost the identical manner as that of ’87, in the cob house, and within a few feet of the spot where the fire of’87 was discovered first.

Also on this page:

The cry of fire no longer excites the average Walnut citizen.

The ruins of the elevator are still burning and give promise of smoldering for another week yet.


To our friends and patrons: — Although burned out we are not knocked out, but are still in the ring, doing business at the old stand, paying the highest market price for all kinds of grain. Come and see us. DAVENPORT GLUCOSE CO.

[From the Sept. 16, 1892 paper]