Archive for Monday, November 29, 2010

100 years ago: Three downtown factories suffer great material losses in huge fire

November 29, 2010


From the Lawrence Daily World for Nov. 29, 1910:

  • “The most serious fire of the month occurred last night in the factory district on New Hampshire street. The firms suffering and the probable loss are: C. D. Faler Planing Mill Co., loss $2,000; Lawrence Cabinet Co., completely gutted, loss undetermined; Kansas Auto Wheel Co., loss $250. The building occupied by the three firms is of brick, and the fire seems to have originated in the basement. This portion of the building is occupied by the Cabinet mill and is always littered with shavings and inflammable material. The fire made a huge blaze and at times a newspaper could be read on Massachusetts from the glare.”
  • “W. B. Frye, assistant in the education division, and Bascom Johnson spent yesterday afternoon here inspecting Haskell Institute. They were returning to Washington from their annual tour of western Indian schools. The inspectors visited all the buildings, investigated the character and amount of work being done, and expressed themselves as highly gratified at the manner in which the institution has been conducted by the present superintendent.”


Pywacket 3 years, 4 months ago

The wording of the first sentence is striking: "The most serious fire of the month occurred last night...."

Fires were commonplace back then, making such a matter-of-fact comparison possible. Makes you realize how much safer a world we live in, firewise... A hundred years ago, building materials & construction methods, heating methods (stoves & fireplaces widely used), and lighting options (many still used gaslight or even candles; early wiring was almost as hazardous) made fires a very common hazard, especially in the colder months. And, obviously---no fire alarms back then and the science and orchestration of firefighting was in its infancy.

Anyone who wants to romanticize about living in those times should take a good, close look at the nuts & bolts of daily living. Our times certainly have their drawbacks, but there are far fewer accidental deaths & maimings from fires, household & farm injuries, etc.


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