Monday, May 11, 2015

The Fires of Bunker Hill

From the Gazette News, September 20, 1893:  On Friday evening, for the third time, fire held a fierce carnival on the west side of Washington Street.  The alarm was given about 6:20 p.m. and within two hours $75,000 worth of the business property in the city had been wiped out.

The fire originated in the immense barn in the rear of the Johnston block.  It was probably due to the pipe of a tramp or bum, or a cigar of card-playing youngsters.  The facts will never be known.  Almost simultaneously, all buildings south of the Johnston block were ablaze so fiercely that little could be done in the way of saving contents.

The local fire company, headed by Chief Speir, did noble work with the fire engine, chemical, and new extinguishers and were nobly seconded by many of our people.  To such effort is due the arrest of the fire at the Johnston block and the saving of the business property on the east side of Washington Street.

As near as can be ascertained, the fire losses are:  buildings, $36,000, stock and personal effects, $38,400, for a total of $74,400.  This includes damage to buildings and stocks not destroyed.

Photo: The Old Bunker Hill Firehouse

Previous Fires
This recent fire was the third which had devastated the same side of the street; the last two, practically covering the same ground.  All occurred on a Friday.

The fire January 23, 1880, originated in Sanford's Grocery Store on the same ground.  The damage on the fire proper footed up $12,000.  The insurance was fair.

December 1, 1882, the ground from Bumann's three story building to Sessel's corner and on Warren Street west to the alley, was burned.  The loss totaled $37,000, nearly equally divided between buildings ans stock.  The insurance was about $23,000.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, January 10, 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment