Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Dycusburg's Three Devastating Fires

Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky has suffered from three devastating fires, any one of which could have been a death knell for the town.  Instead, the citizens who lost their businesses and/or homes hung on and rebuilt.

The first fire began shortly after 3 a.m. on a June morning when the residence of Mrs. J.H. Clifton, widow, was discovered in flames. Mrs. Clifton and her two daughters lost most of their clothing and personal possessions.

Others losing their businesses or residences were Brown & Dalton, loss of stock;  E.M. Dalton, lost his house; S.H. Cassidy & Co., lost a tobacco factory and also Cassidy's  residence and contents; Brasher & Campbell, merchants suffered a loss of their stock; Decker's Livery Stable; J.B. Wadlington's residence was lost, as was that of Obe Simmons and Griffin & Wells lost a warehouse.  [1]

Slightly more than a year later, on the morning of July 16, 1907, Dycusburg had another destructive fire. Griffin & Wells, whose warehouse had suffered a loss estimated at $500 in 1906, again had fire damage. Others suffering losses in 1907 were Dr. Phillips, O. Boaz, G.A. Decker, W.L. Bennett, J.C. Bennett, People's Bank, the Dycusburg Hotel, Gregory's Livery Stable, Ed Lowery's store and residence and J.L. Hills' residence and its contents. [2] Only two business house were left after the fire. Although the fire of 1907 finished off what was left after the fire of 1906, no one was hurt. The losses from the 1907 fire totaled $50,000 with only about $11,000 insurance coverage.[3]  Most of the buildings were of frame construction, which caused the fire to spread quickly from one building to another.

Probably the greatest victim of the fire of 1907 was People's Bank of Dycusburg. The stockholders and directors met on 27 July 1907 and adopted several resolutions, which resulted in liquidation of the bank.  The bank building and practically the entire town was destroyed by fire, which hindered the future business prospects of the bank. The bank had never obtained as large a business as had been hoped for and, since the bank affairs were favorable to liquidate and the assets were well secured, it was decided to liquidate the bank.  The resolutions were signed by Charles Smith,  Bank President; Edgie Gregory, Cashier and James Ramey, Agent and Attorney for the Bank.[4]

The third fire in Dycusburg  began in the early morning of 22 November 1954 and two-thirds of the business district was lost. The fire began in Mrs. Marguerite Bennett's grocery store. At one point, the fire leaped across the street and ignited the large general merchandise store of Fred Joyce and the garage of Robert Dycus.  Left standing were the post office, Masonic Lodge and Frank Dycus' grocery.[5]

As in the previous fires, all of the businesses were frame buildings. Only three buildings remained after the fire with losses estimated at $100,000.[6]

In spite of the fires, Dycusburg did not die and, in 2010, had a population of 26.

[1] "Dycusburg in Ashes," Crittenden Press, Thurs., 7 June 1906, p. 1.
[2] "Fire Destroys Town," Owensboro Messenger, Wed., 17 July 1907, p. 3.
[3] $50,000 Loss at Dycusburg," Louisville Courier-Journal, Thurs., 18 July 1907, p . 3.
[4] "People's Bank of Dycusburg," Crittenden Record-Press, Thurs., 8 August 1907, p. 3.
[5] "Cumberland Town Hit Hard by Fire," Paducah Sun, Mon., 22 November 1954, p . 1.
[6] "Kentucky Town Has Heavy Fire," Clarksville, Tenn. Leaf-Chronicle, Tues., 23 Nov 1954, p. 11.

Published 7 Aug 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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