Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1860s & 1870s

Ruins of Denver - 1863
  • On March 18, 1860, fire struck Summers & Dorsett Stables, Twelfth and Market streets, Denver. [DFD] 
  • On April 19, 1863, fire swept Denver's business district and destroyed 70 wooden buildings. Almost all of the structures were made of highly flammable pine. The fire started in a saloon. High winds aggravated the situation. The ruins were replaced by brick buildings. Three years later, the predecessor of the Denver Fire Department was organized as Volunteer Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, replacing a bucket brigade. A fire station was built at 1534 Lawrence St., according to the Denver Firefighters Museum.
  • On Nov. 22, 1869, fire broke out in the storeroom of a Denver dry goods and millinery (women's hats) business belonging to a "Mrs. Cady." [New York Times] The fire damaged adjacent buildings and businesses including Booth's jewelry and music store and Doolittle's dry good store.
  • On Jan. 3, 1872, fire struck Eastabrook Stables, 1547 Market St., Denver [DFD]
  • On May 22, 1874, fire broke out at Central City, Colorado. The Montana Theater, which was built of logs, was among the buildings lost. [operaoldcolo.info]
  • On Feb. 23, 1875, Allan Shalcross, a volunteer, became the first Denver fireman to die in the line of duty as a result of the Planters Hotel, Sixteenth and Blake streets. [DFD]
  • In 1876, the Bighorn forest fire in Wyoming burned 500,000 acres.
  • On March 23, 1877, two major fires in Denver at at Denver Theatre, 16th and Lawrence streets and a block of buildings on 22nd Street. [DFD]
  • On Dec. 26, 1877, the day after Christmas, two fires struck Central City. Colorado. The first broke out in an abandoned building on the road between Central City and Blackhawk between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. The second, discovered as firemen returned from the initial blaze, destroyed the home of Thomas Terrill, killing four people. [New York Times, Dec. 27, 1877] "There is a strong suspicion on incendiarism, as the smell of coal-oil was noticeable about both buildings, and both fire seems to have started from the outside," it was reported. Additionally, a witness or witnesses reported seeing a man running from the first blaze. The dead were identified as Mrs. Terrill, Johnnie Terrill, Mr. John Terrill, and Robert Jeffreys. "The first persons arriving at the scene heard screams of the inmates, but the fire had such headway that nothing could be done to save them."

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