DESTRUCTIVE FIRE!
(Grand Rapids Eagle, 25 September 1857)

Eight Buildings, Four Horses
And An Immense Amount of Goods Burned!

At about 12 o'clock to day, a fire broke out in Cady's stable, in the rear of the Jenny Lind Saloon, and soon destroyed it, burning up four horses. From that it was communicated to the rear kitchen of the Jenny Lind, and quickly spread to the wood buildings above and to Abel's Block below, burning out the whole row between McConnell's and Luce's Blocks, on the south side of Monroe street. There being a strong south-westerly wind blowing, the buildings on the opposite side of the street soon caught fire, and were all consumed from the "democratic tent", through to Justice street, including the Rathbone Block. The firemen were on hand as soon as possible after the alarm was given; and by active and almost superhuman exertions, were enabled to save Luce's and McConnell's Blocks, with both of which the burning buildings were in close contact, and to arrest the progress of the fire before it crossed.

THE GREAT FIRE
(Grand Rapids Eagle, 27 September 1857)

We put our paper to press last evening, in the confusion resulting from the great fire, whose ravages had just been stayed, and while the ruins of eight buildings - six of wood and two of stone - were yet blazing. It was then impossible to give interesting particulars, or to approach any degree of accuracy as to the extent of the losses incurred.

THE ORIGIN OF THE FIRE

The first alarm was given upon the discovery of a volume of smoke ascending from the roof of N. H. CADY's stable, in rear of the Jenny Lind Saloon. The stable-door was locked, and four horses were within. Mr. BELKNAP was the firs who arrived at the stable, and as he forced open the door, the flames burst out, and instantaneously enveloped the building. It was impossible to extricate the horses, and they were burned. As the fire commenced upon the inside, it must, we think, have been the result of some carelessness on the part of the last one who was within; though we are assured that he never smokes, either a cigar or pipe, and had no fire in the stable that day. Mr. CADY's loss is a severe one to him, as all his means, about $1200, were invested in the business, and nearly all lost.

ITS PROGRESS

The flames soon caught the south end of the Ball-Alley, attached to the Jenny Lind Saloon, and the wind blowing briskly from the south, it was immediately rendered certain that the whole building, together with the adjoining, owned by Dr. SHEPARD, and occupied as a Drug Store by SHEPARD & PUTNAM must be consumed. All efforts were then directed to the preservation of R. C. LUCE's new and splendid brick block, and the stone block of J. C. ABEL. The latter was entirely lost, but the former, though severely threatened and somewhat injured, was saved. The flames soon burst through the fronts, and immediately communicated with the wooden buildings on the north side of the street. These wer occupied, upon the ground floors, by PERKINS & WOODWARD (boot and shoe store); James LYMAN (dry goods), P. G. HODENPYL ( fancy goods) and N. K. Butler (watch-maker and jeweller.). The three story stone block, known as the "Rathbone Buildings" then took fire, and was likewise burned down. This latter block was occupied, on the ground floor, by DECAMP & ELDRIDGE, druggists; J. TERHUNE, JR., bookseller and stationer, and STANNARD & LOOMIS, bankers. The second story, by James MILLER's law office and ANDRUS' saloon. Upon the third floor were the residences of W. HEATH and Edgar WILLIAMS. The progress of the fire was here stayed. The residence of Col. ROBERTS was severely threatened, but, with the protection afforded by the dens foliage of the shade trees in front, and through the exertions of the people, the house was saved.

THE LOSERS AND THE LOSSES

N. H. Cady, four horses, valued at $700, and other property, $500
Dr. Shepard, owned the building which he occupied, and the one opposite, next the Rathbone Buildings. Amount of loss probably $6,000.
J. C. Abel was the owner of the Saloon Building and the stone block; the first valued at $8,000 and the latter at $10,000 - Whether he had any insurance upon the property we have not been able to learn.
Consider Guild, proprietor of the Jenny Lind Saloon, loss about $1,800.
Shepard & Putnam, loss of goods, about $6,000
W. T. Powers, damage in removal of goods, about $1,000
Henry Spring, R. C. Luce and L. W. Beck also occupied Luce's block, and suffered some loss - perhaps $500 - in the removal of goods.
Ringuet & Bro., boot and shoe dealers, in Abel's block, lost a part of their stock, valued at $400. No insurance.
Granger & Co. also had their boot and shoe store in Abel's block, and lost a small portion of their goods - perhaps $300.
C. D. Preston, clothing merchant lost about one half of his stock $1,000 - fully insured.
Drs. Henderson & Wooster lost perhaps $300. Medical library saved.
Dr. Carpenter & Pierce, dentists, suffered some loss of instruments - about $150 - insured.
James Lyman - lost of goods, $8000 - insured.
P. G. Hodenpyl estimates his loss of goods at $11,000 - insured only $2,000. This is a severe blow to the enterprising proprietor of the "Curiosity Shop"; but he was "on his Taps", rented another store - adjoining the National - while his goods were burning, and will start for New York Monday morning for a new stock!
Decamp & Eldridge, all things considered were perhaps the severest sufferers of all. Their stock of drugs and medicines was worth about $6,000. Dr. DeCamp's household goods, valued at $1,000 - all destroyed - no insurance.
J. Terhune's loss was also severe. About two-thirds of his stock of books and stationery was lost. $2,500 - no insurance. Mr. Terhune will, however, soon open with a new stock. He is not a man to "give it up so".
Loomis and Stannard, of the City Exchange Bank, succeeded in "removing the deposites", and their loss was slight - perhaps $200. The bank is now located with Atkins & Co. in Luce's Block.

NO MORE WOODEN BUILDINGS
(Grand Rapids Eagle, 29 September 1857)

The Common Council, on Saturday evening, established a Fire District, which embraces Monroe street, between Division street and Grand River; Pearl street, between Canal street and Daniel Ball's residence; and Canal street between Pearl and Bridge streets. No more wooden buildings must be erected in said District.

WOODEN BUILDINGS

The ordinance just passed by the city fathers, prohibiting the erection of any more wood buildings on Canal and Monroe street; is either behind time or else Mr. Comstock, is ahead, as he has a skeleton already up, adjoining the furniture establishment of the Messrs. Winchester's; and another wooden building from a back street is being hauled upto occupy a place by its side.

ALMOST ANOTHER FIRE

A wooden house on the corner of Bostwick and Fountain streets took fire in the garret, from a stove pipe this morning, and would have consumed, but for the timely arrival of the neighbors with water. Mr. Heath, had but just moved into the house having been burned out by the late fire on Monroe street. He has sustained no loss this time save in the breakage of crockery, furniture & c., in the hurry to get it out of the house.

REBUILDING

The loss to individuals, caused by the late fire, will very soon be made up to the city in new brick and stone buildings, that will rise "Phoenix-like", and fill the places with beauty


Transcriber: ES
Created: 29 November 2009
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/GR/events/1857fire.html