Blazes! A $45,000 Fire – 17 Buildings in Ashes, 4 Families Homeless: The Walnut Bureau – August 18, 1887

From the Walnut Bureau, Thursday, August 18, 1887
(a Bureau extra, issued at 6:30 Tuesday morning.)

TUESDAY MORNING, Aug. 16. At 12:15 this morning the alarm of fire was sounded by C. F. Jacobsen, who discovered Clayton & Schofield’s grain elevator to be on fire.

When first seen the fire breaking through the roof of the engine house. It was evident from the first that this and Spangler’s elevator were both doomed to destruction.

Clayton’s elevator was filled to the roof with grain. Spangler’s was probably about half full.

Howard’s livery stable next took fire and from it the flames communicated to Mickel’s hardware and implement building, and to Jacobsen’s hall, cigar factory and residence.

The devouring element then swept west, burning everything in its course excepting Negley’s elevator.

The fire companies at Avoca and Atlantic were telegraphed for at 12:30.

The former responded, but owing to a delay in getting a flat car to load their engine on, did not arrive until 2:30, too late to be of any service. Everything was as dry as tinder and burned with frightful rapidity.

In two hours and fifteen minutes, thirteen buildings were reduced to ashes, four families were rendered homeless, and property valued in the neighborhood of sixty thousand dollars.

The Transient House was threatened for a while but hard work saved it, and through it, Sankey’s livery barn and the whole town. The Rock Island depot early fell a prey to the flames. Everything was saved from it.

At 2:15 the fire began to subside for want of fuel, and is, this morning, a smoldering mass.

The streets of our town present a sorry appearance, lined as they are with rescued goods, to the saving of which everyone lent willing hands.

The buildings burned are as follows:

Clayton & Schofield, elevator, office and coal sheds;

E. E. Mickel, hardware and implements;

Rock Island depot;

——– Green, occupied by Stowe and Burg, blacksmith and wagon shop;

C. F. Jacobsen, cigar factory and residence and billiard hall;

Same, barn;

Green, vacant building;

Spangler & Koll, office building, implement building and coal sheds;

I. T. Spangler, elevator and office;

J. Burmeister, hotel;

Green Bay Lumber Co., lumber yard and office;

——-, residence, occupied by Wm Thomas.

At the present writing it is impossible to give the amount of insurance.

There is a strong suspicion that the fire was the work of an incendiary, but of course it is shrouded in mystery.

The above writing covers much that can be stated regarding the disastrous fire which visited this place Tuesday morning.

In addition to the alarm of “fire, fire”, sounded on the streets, Tom Bunker broke into the Presbyterian church and rung the bell in a manner which conveyed the intelligence in no meaningless way.

At this writing, it is impossible to give a full statement of the losses, as many goods that were saved, can not readily be gathered together, scattered over town as they are in various places.

Mickel had $500 insurance on building, and the same on stock. Will probably rebuild.

Clayton & Schofield place their total loss at between ten and eleven thousand, insurance, $6,000. Can’t tell yet whether they will rebuild or not.

The Rock Island people are quartered in a freight car and will rebuild immediately.

Stowe and Burg place their loss at $200, no insurance. There was no insurance on building occupied by them.

Jacobsen’s loss will probably reach $3,000, insurance $1600. The building will not be replaced.

Herrick’s vacant building will not be rebuilt. Insurance, $600.

Peter Koll estimates loss of building at $1200. Insured for $800.

I. T. Spangler, building, one thousand, insurance, five hundred; elevator and grain, eight thousand, insurance, six thousand. Spangler and Koll, loss on stock, $1400, insurance, $500.

The loss on the Burmeister property and their house hold effects will probably reach $2500, insurance, $800.

E. D. Mineah places loss of the Green Bay people at about $4000, well covered by insurance.

Gustav Diedrich, residence, five hundred. Mr. Thomas, household goods, estimated at $75.

The total loss will swell to between forty and forty [forty-five] thousand, with insurance amounting to nearly twenty thousand.