A $50,000 BLAZE!, 23 February 1888, Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas Hosted by RootsWeb, the oldest & largest FREE genealogical site. Click here to visit RootsWeb.
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The Western Star, March 3, 1888.

A $50,000 BLAZE!

Coldwater's Principal Business Block in Ashes.

12 Buildings Burned.

Very Little Property Saved from Fire.

About 4 o'clock on Thursday morning, February 23d, Wm. Thompson, a lodger in one of the rear rooms of Finley's boarding house was awakened by a dense smoke in his room. He climbed out upon the shed in the rear of his sleeping apartment, and looking over to the ground he saw a small fire blazing upon the east side of the shed near the partition between the shed and kitchen. He told a reporter that he believes he could have put the fire out at that time with a tub of water, but being a stranger and not knowing the ins and outs of the building, he could not get to the fire, besides he did not know where to get any water. He snatched on his clothes however, and after knocking on the doors in the Finley building went out upon the street and gave the alarm.

But it appears that by the time the people were thoroughly aroused the entire Finley building was in flames, and Youmans & Barcley's store house adjoining Finley's on the east was also well under the influence of the fire. The crowd of people that had gathered on the scene set to work carrying out goods and doing everything in their limited power to save buildings on the east and west of the burning buildings, but the fire continued to spread, owing to the close proximity of the frame buildings, until every building in the block save THE STAR office and First National Bank buildings were in ashes. The fire only lasted about two hours, notwithstanding the air was perfectly still, all the while, and in the event of wind the damage undoubtedly would have been much greater.

The origin of the fire is not known, though there are various theories advanced. Below is a list of the buildings burned, the estimate losses and insurance on destroyed property:

B. L. Eaton, Merchants' hotel, lost everything except furniture: Loss estimated at $5,000, Insurance, $2,000 on building and $500 on furniture.

Vacant building, the property of Blair & Ewart, No insurance; Loss $200.

J. M. Lobaugh, law office, saved everything, except a few books and building. Loss $300. No insurance.

Sisson & Sisson, real estate office, saved nearly everything except building. Loss about $400. No insurance.

Joe Hatcher, barber shop, saved everything but building. Loss about $200. No insurance.

Bement & Goddard, in Dr. Halliday's building, saved part of stock of books, stationary and notions, but it is badly damaged. Loss estimated at $1,000, insured for $500.

G. L. Wilson, the watchmaker and jeweler who was in with Bement and Goddard, saved part of his goods, also insured. Loss of building estimated at $700, insured for $350.

Dr. Halliday's office, in same building with Bement & Goddard, lost nearly everything. Loss estimated at $400, insured for $150.

The firm of T. E. Mackey & Co. saved a small portion of their stock of dry goods and groceries. Their loss is estimated at $5,000, insured for $2,500. The two story building was the property of C. T. Avery, entirely consumed. The loss on the building is estimated at $1,500, insured for $800.

Upstairs in the front part of the Avery building was the law and real estate office of Smith & Wallis, they had no insurance, but saved nearly everything. The back rooms of the Avery building were occupied by Frank Wallis and family as a residence. They lost furniture, carpets, bedding and nearly all their household goods, no insurance.

The two story building occupied by H. C. Finley as a restaurant and eating house was the property of Wm. Hungerford and entirely consumed. Mr. Finley lost nearly everything, estimated loss $1,500, insured for $1,100. Wm. Hungerford's loss of building is estimated at $1,200, insured for $800.

Frank Hutchinson, cigar manufacturer, in the Hungerford building, saved nearly all his stock. No Insurance.

Youmans & Barcley, general merchants of the Red Front Supply house, lost building and nearly all of their immense stock, saving only $5,000 worth of dry goods. Their loss of building and goods is estimated at $25,000, insured for $8,000.

Harding, Jeffrey & Co., dealers in hardware, tin ware and agricultural implements, saved $500 or $600 worth of their stock. Their loss at a low estimate is $4,000, insured for $2,000. The building is owned by H. A. Loper, of Anthony. The loss of the building is estimated at $1,400, insured for $750.

Upstairs in the front room of the Loper building were the furnished rooms of W. A. Templeman, who estimates his loss at $150, no insurance. Youmans & Barcley occupied the rear rooms of the same building and lost furniture, carpets, etc., estimated at $150, no insurance.

The building occupied by Mr. Crebs as a residence was the property of Mrs. H. Chapman of Ft. Scott. The loss of Building is estimated at $400. We failed to learn whether it was insured or not. Mr. Crebs saved nearly all of his household goods, no insurance.

The building occupied by R. T. Cameron and D. E. Hutchins as an office was the property of M. C. Carpenter, valued at $200, no insurance. Messrs. Cameron and Huchins escaped with a very slight loss.

The Western Star and First National bank buildings were the only buildings in the entire business block that were saved from the fiery element. The Star building was saved by the use of wet blankets and the chopping out and hauling away of the building next to it.

The total loss of Thursday's fire will sum up nearly $50,000.

Also see:

Coldwater, Kansas:
A Good Showing for a Six Months Old Town.

The Western Star, 22 November 1884.

A BIG FIRE (In Coldwater)   The Western Star, March 12, 1892.

Coldwater Centennial Notebook, 1884 - 1984 by Evelyn Reed.

Fire Destroys Comanche County's Court House
Published in The Western Star, November 21, 1921.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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