Family Stories

Early Morning Blaze on Main Street in Springfield, Kentucky

The Springfield Sun, Washington County, Kentucky

Thursday, May 2, 1907

Fire Destroys Frame Buildings on Main Street

Heroic Work of the Fire Department Saves the Town

What has been expected by Springfield citizens for years has happened!

At about 3 o’clock this morning George B. Taylor discovered fire in the rear of his repair shop.  When the fire was discovered the flames were under much headway, and were leaping up the rear of the building.  An alarm was at once given, but by the time the fire department arrived the building was a complete mass of flames.  The fire soon spread in the adjoining buildings, all of which, with the exception of Mrs. Williams’ millinery store, were frame structures, and of light material.  It was soon seen that it would be impossible to save these buildings and the fire company gave its attention to Grundy and McIntire’s dry goods store and W. P. Lawrence’s grocery, and the fact that these buildings remain standing is evidence that the boys did good work.  In fact, it was the best and most heroic fire-fighting ever seen in Springfield – indeed as good as that ever seen by anybody, anywhere.  It seems a miracle that Grundy and McIntire’s and Lawrence’s grocery were saved.  The building occupied by Mr. Lawrence is frame, but is covered with iron.  these buildings were only saved by level-headed firemen and powerful streams of water.

The origin of the fire is unknown.  Mr. Taylor says that when he closed his store last evening there was no fire in the stove.

The fighting of this fire clearly demonstrates two things – we have the best fire department and the best system of water works in Kentucky.  Those boys of the fire department who did heroic work, so far as The Sun is able to learn are:  Chief John H. Moore, William Berry, William Roberts, Clifford Roberts, Gwinn Marks, George Robertson, Evan Hagan, Robert Marks, Robert Robards, Harry Shultz, Willie Green, Con. O’Gara and William Noe.

If The Sun has omitted any names from this honor roll certainly it is unintentional.

Boys, our hats are off to you!  You did your work well.  Through your fearlessness Springfield was saved from “the gluttony of flame” and today, by reason of your heroism, there yet remains the prettiest and most substantial portion of our city’s business houses, where, had you not stood determinedly to your duties there would have been naught but ashes, debris and smoldering fire.

And to the man behind the pumps at the power house “we doff our hats and give a cheer”.  He gave the boys behind the nozzles a mighty stream of water.

Forevermore, let naught but good be said of our water and fire companies!

The News-Leader, Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Disastrous Fire

Early Morning Blaze on Main Street Destroys Several Business Houses

Springfield was visited early yesterday morning by one of the most disastrous fires in the history of the town and at one time it looked as if one entire block in the heart of the business part of the town would be destroyed.  By good work of the fire department however, the fire was confined to five buildings which were almost totally destroyed.  The principal losers by the fire are as follows, the loss being estimated:

Mrs. Kate Williams building partially destroyed and stock of goods and household furniture damaged.  Loss on building $1,500, damage to contents $500.  Insurance $2,000 on building alone.

W. E. Leachman stock of furniture, valued at $2,400, totally destroyed.  Insurance $800.

John Y. Mayes, undertaker, stock valued at $2,000, total loss.  No insurance.  Mr. Mayes also suffered the loss of all of his account books which will result in a great inconvenience and material loss in collecting.  The building occupied by Messers. Mayes and Leachman was owned by Mr. T. Scott Mayes.  It was valued at $2,000 and was a total lose with no insurance.

The building adjoining Mays’ owned by Messrs. I. H. Thurman and G. B. Cunningham was destroyed.  Value $2,000.  Insurance for $700.  George B. Taylor, who occupied this building, lost practically everything.  He conducted a repair shop below and lived with his family above.  He saved only a few articles of wearing apparel and carried no insurance.

Alex Adams lost contents of his restaurant including a soda fountain valued at about $200.

The old building known as the McAuliff property was occupied by Logan McPherson.  Almost everything was lost.  No insurance.

Building adjoining owned by Dr. J. M. Burton, valued at about $500 with no insurance was destroyed.  Mr. E. A. Cox who operated a photograph gallery in this building and also lived in it suffered the loss of some of his property and did not have insurance.  J. J. Graves, the jeweler who also was a rented in the same building, succeeded in saving practically all of his stock.

The next building on the east, owned by T. J. Graves, was threatened but by good work of the fire hose brigade the flames were checked at this point.  W. P. Lawrence, who owns a grocery in this building, suffered considerable damage to his stock by having it moved.  Drs. Robards and Hyatt, whose offices are on the second floor, also had considerable damage done to their furniture by having it moved from the building.

The immense stock of dry goods of Grundy and McIntire, who occupy the building on the west of the burned district was carried into the street and consequently was damaged.  The flames were checked before they reached this building.

Several large plate glass windows on the opposite side of the street were cracked by the heat from the fire.  Those to lose this way are Schultz & McElroy, McElroy & Shader and Cunningham & Duncan.

The telephone exchange, which is located on the same block, was put out of commission by the fact that the switch boards were removed and all wires disconnected.  One of the cables stretched along Main Street was also burned in two at a point opposite the fire.  Manager Dickerson informs us it will probably be three or four days before local service will be resumed.  Temporary quarters for long distance service have been established at the Walton Hotel.

The cause of the fire is a mystery.  It started at the back of Taylor’s repair shop, but whether on the outside or inside is not known.  Mr. Taylor, who lives above the shop says that he was aroused by the smoke and noise of the fire and on going downstairs found the smoke raging over the back part of the shop.  He says there had been no fire in the shop at all that day.

There is already talk of replacing the burned buildings with new ones and although it is too early to make plans, the public may confidently expect to see a row of modern business houses arise Phoenix like from the ashes of the burned district.  Springfield needs the houses and the location is a good one.

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