Friday, July 24, 2009

Destructive Fire

The Home News, May 14, 1859

The most destructive fire with which Marietta has ever been visited broke out at five o’clock, on Thursday afternoon. It originated in a barn situated on the extreme rear of the lot on Green street, occupied by A. Bundschu, caused by the carelessness of some boys, who were melting lead in that dangerous locality. 

The building, containing hay and other extremely combustible materials, was almost instantly in flames, which spread with great rapidity to the adjoining out-buildings in the rear of the Bank, on Front street in one direction, and toward Green street in the other. The alarm was instantly given, and people with buckets in their hands, hurried to the scene from all directions. Three engines were soon on the spot. All worked with an energy sufficient to have confined the flames to a small compass, had there been a proper head or sufficient authority. 

The result was the destruction of about twenty-five buildings, extending from the Bank, on Front street, around and up Green street to Second, and up Second to L. M. Parker’s carriage factory – excepting the last named building, and the brick residence of J. M. Booth, on Green street, the brick store occupied by S. R. Turner, on the corner of Front and Green, and the store occupied by A. Allen, next door to it, on Front street. The following are the particulars, which are as near accurate as they can be made.

Front Street:

No. 16, Holden’s block, occupied by Buell & Bro. Druggists, and the Intelligencer office. Building slightly injured but saved by great exertions. Occupants little damaged, though the Intelligencer office was slightly disordered.

No. 14, owned and occupied by the Marietta Bank. Roof and upper floor destroyed. Loss about $1500. No insurance. All the Bank valuables were placed in the safe, and are uninjured. F. Buell, attorney at law, occupied an office on the 2nd floor, loss triflings. Also, an engineer’s office of the M. & C. R. R. whose loss in transit and other instruments is about $500.

Nos. 10 and 12, two-story brick, owned by James Holden, and occupied by Bosworth, Wells & Co. dry goods, groceries and hardware dealers. Building totally destroyed; loss $3000 – insured $1200 in Washington Co. Mutual. The contents of the stores were soon emptied into the street, but the heavy stock in the Warehouse in the rear was principally burned. Loss $10,000 – fully insured.

No. 8, three-story brick owned by A. T. Nye & Brother, and occupied by Nye & Huntington, hardware dealers, who saved most of their goods. Loss on building $1200 – insured for $600 in W. C. Mutual. Loss on goods $600 to $1000 – insured $2000 in Etna.

No. 6, three-story brick, occupied by A. Allen, dry goods and groceries – loss $100, no insurance.

Nos. 4 and 2, corner Green, three-story brick occupied by S. R. Turner, dry goods and groceries. No loss except by removal of goods. Insured $400 – in Etna, Hartford, Ct. The three last buildings are owned by Joseph Holden, Sr. and sustained but slight damage, the rear wall of the third story of No. 6 having fallen out. Insured in W. C. Mutual for $1600.

Green Street:

No. 2, three-story brick owned and occupied by C. & S. Shipman & Co. dry goods dealers. Building entirely destroyed; loss $2000, insured for $800 in W. C. Mutual and $800 in Hartford. Loss on goods $1000, insured $4000.

No. 3, three-story brick, owned by I. R. Waters and occupied by S. Slocomb & Co. boot and shoe manufacturers. Building entirely destroyed – loss $3000, insured for $1500 in W. C. Mutual Goods in the 1st story mostly saved – the heavy amount of stock and manufactured work for the fall trade on 2nd and 3rd floors, could not be got out. Loss $8000 or $9000, fully insured.

No. 4, three-story brick owned by J. M. Booth, and occupied as a Grocery on the first floor by J. J. Brenan, and above by Slocomb & Co. Brenan’s loss $1000, insured $800. Building insured for $900 in W. C. Mutual.

No. 5, four-story brick owned and occupied by H. Brenan as a liquor store, grocery and dwelling. Walls only standing. Loss $2000. No insurance.

No. 6, four-story brick owned by Mrs. E. Taylor and occupied by A. Bundschu as a lager beer and billiard saloon and dwelling. Walls standing – loss on building $1500. No insurance. Bundschu’s loss about $500 – no insurance.

Adjoining, on the corner of the alley, two-story brick owned by J. M. Booth, and occupied by him as a dwelling. Furniture removed. Damage slight. Insured for $1000 in W. C. Mutual.

From the alley to Second street was a range of not very valuable frame buildings, and two small brick ones, owned by Hugh Hill, Marietta Lodge No. 67, I.O.O.F., John Richards, J. Ebinger, and others, on which there was no insurance, excepting $300 on Ebinger’s in the W. C. Mutual. They were occupied by F. Conrath, lager beer saloon, another similar establishment adjoining, Kunz & Meagel, dry goods and groceries, Davis & Smith, Shoemakers, J. Coulter, residence and Saddlery, A. Leonhart, tailor shop and residence, J. & D. Miller, bakers, and J. Ebinger, saddler. Also, several buildings on the alley, small and not of much value, owned by J. Richards, who has some eight or nine houses burned, and is without insurance. Loss $3000 or $4000.

The entire space burned covers about a third of one of our immense squares – equal to about two New York squares. The entire loss of property will not exceed $45,000; and exclusive of insurance, not $20,000.


In tearing down the ten-pin alley of J. Richards, on Second street, the roof fell on M. J. Morse, and very seriously injured him. He is in good hands and will recover. One or two boys were slightly injured. Next morning, J. B. Rothwell, at work on the sidewalk under the wall of the bank, was severely injured by the falling of a piece of cornice and several loose bricks, which hit him on the back of the head.

* The people labored untiringly in subduing the flames and saving property; yet special praise should be awarded to D. A. Belden, J. T. Hart, N. Bishop, jr, and one or two strangers for their well directed and persistent efforts.

* The Ladies – bless their noble hearts – were among the most active volunteers at the late fire, and did good service, and worked like heroes, while sundry of the male tribe calmly looked on and did – nothing.

* Marshal J. I. Goldsmith lost a Portemonaie at the late fire, containing $38 in gold, $50 in bills, and sundry notes, receipts, &c. The finder should be honest enough to return it.


Bosworth, Wells & Co. reopen their business in Lammott’s old stand, where they will remain until their new store is completed.

Nye & Huntington have removed their goods to Hall, Matthews & Co’s. warehouse, on Ohio street. Their store will be repaired immediately.

C. & S. Shipman & Co. will occupy the store of W. B. Thomas & Co. on Ohio street. They expect to have their late store rebuilt, with all the modern improvements, inside of two months.

S. Slocomb & Co. will occupy part of Dana, Rossiter & Co’s. store, as a sales room, for the present.

J. J. Brenan can be found hereafter at the old Exchange office, Green street, where he will be happy to see his customers and the public.

* A fraction of what was lost by the fire on Thursday would have fully equipped a well organized company for the Conqueror, given it and the Defiance each one thousand feet more of hose, and equipped a good and serviceable Hook and Ladder company. The condition the Hooks were in would disgrace a much smaller town than Marietta. Much valuable time was lost in hunting them up, and after they were found it was discovered that they were valueless. Cannot the Council do something to promote more efficiency in our fire department? 

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