Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fires Destroy Businesses

Marion, Kentucky the day after the great fire of 28 March 1905
During the early years of the 1900s, many business buildings in western Kentucky were still of wooden construction. Because of this, fire was always a concern. In Marion, Crittenden County, the entire business section was wiped out on 28 March 1905, resulting in a loss of $200,000. A similar disaster visited Marion again in 1919.
A disastrous fire struck Salem, Livingston County, as a result of boys shooting off Roman candles on the night of 17 December 1902. Suffering losses were J.D. Faris, dry goods; Vernon & Matlock, dry goods; John Eberly, grocery; Dock Grassham, blacksmith and Jesse Faris, liveryman.

On 6 July 1913, a large portion of Sturgis, Union County, with a population of about 2,500, was destroyed by fire, which started in a drug store early in the evening. The town had no water works and citizens fought the flames with a bucket brigade. By 11 p.m., virtually all of the business houses and 30 dwellings were in ashes and the fire was still raging. Loss was expected to exceed $250,000.

Mogranfield, Union County, seems to have suffered more than most towns during this era. On 19 January 1904, fires were set at several different parts of town. Young & Waller's warehouse and over 100 tons of hay were destroyed. At the depot, a boxcar containing several barrels of whiskey were burned about the same time. Later Frank Aton's blacksmith shop was burned and then Frank Sparks' blacksmith shop was destroyed. Frank Sellar's saloon caught fire, but was saved with slight loss. At an early hour on 9 April 1904, fire was discovered in a large brick building on Main street in Morganfield, Union County. The building was occupied by T.C. Day's grocery, J.W. Field's saloon and Podgett & Sales' saloon. All were destroyed. In March 1910, fire supposed to have been deliberately set destroyed the following businesses: Green River Department Store, Masonic Temple, the opera house and the Bank of Union County. This fire is said to have been started in the department store.

Published 14 March 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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