The information in this column comes from the Monroe Sentinel which was published on Wednesday morning January 5, 1870. With few exceptions, the buildings in the square at that time were small wooden structures unlike those today. If you look at the photo at the top of page 36 in Pictorial History of Monroe, Wisconsin (gray book), you will see the buildings referred to in this article, which means the photo must have been taken before 1870. photo by the northern part of the west side of the square around the same time can be seen at the bottom of page 40 in the same book. These must be some of the first photos taken at Monroe.
I debated whether to rephrase the newspaper article or share it as it was written. A lot of people have told me that they found the old wording interesting, so this is exactly the way it was written.
“A fire in this village is something strange; yet fires are likely to occur in the best regulated communities. If our village council hadn’t ordered a fire truck, we could “tip over”, just like those buckets of water on Sunday night, when they were passed along the line. The losses as close as we can learn are as follows:
“Site of the fire, southwest corner of the public square – three wooden stores occupied by Bloom & Son, hardware store; James A. Banks, boots and shoes; Edward Morris, clothing; BC Reynolds, tobacco and cigars; DF Corson & Son, harness, saddles, leather, & c.
“Bloom & Son, loss of the building and part of the stock; about $ 4000; insured in Hartford for $ 2,000, Phoenix, $ 1,500. By the efforts of a few brave men, including Donk [sic] Glascott and John K. Parks, this building’s safe and books have been saved.
“DF Corson & Son, insured on a building in Hartford, $ 500; on Phoenix shares, $ 1,000. Since almost all of Corson & Son’s stock of merchandise has been spared, they are probably insured for the full amount of their loss. The tools of their workers, however, were all destroyed, which is a great loss for them.
“James A. Banks, loss of approximately $ 5,000; insured in the host company for only $ 1,000. Nothing was spared, neither in stock nor in accounts, with the exception of a daily ledger; and, as Mr. Banks is an old man [64 years old], his loss is deeply painful for him and his many friends.
“Ed Morris, in the same building as Mr. Banks, estimated loss of approximately $ 5,000; insured in Hartford for $ 1,000; Republic, $ 2,000. There was no insurance on the building, which belonged to Ared White, and was valued at around $ 1,000.
“BC Reynolds, who occupied the upper part of the White building, lost all of its inventory of cigars and tobacco, valued at around $ 500. No insurance.
“The fire was discovered in the back section of the building owned by Mr. White at around 8:30 pm and quickly spread to buildings on either side – Bloom and Corson’s. There was a small wooden building directly to the rear of Stewart’s Block, which was in imminent danger, and if it had caught fire, no possible effort could have saved from total destruction of the entire south side; but, by the efforts of our citizens, passing the water along the lines, and the service rendered by the small motor belonging to Anton Miller, which maintained a continual flow of water over the fire and the adjacent buildings, the beautiful block of shops occupied by Weber & Wettengel, SC Chandler, Fillebrown Brothers, Cross’ Art Gallery and other smaller businesses upstairs, were rescued, along with the wooden buildings beyond. The wind blowing from the southwest did much to stop the progress of the flames.
“Sam Boynton had all his stock on the street. Blackman, a grocer, was also partly relocated, as well as Porter & Allen, fancy haberdashery, Everett, boots and shoes, Dye, restaurateur, and Cross, photographer. At 10 a.m., all danger of the fire spreading having been eliminated, the goods taken out were returned to their original places.
“The Hook and Ladder Company did a good job, and their ladders and hooks came in just to save and overpower the devouring element.
“Once the fire became manageable, the [wooden] the sidewalk was torn up to put out the fire that had crept under it, and other precautions were taken to prevent further spread of the flames. People then began to return home, while firefighters and those particularly interested remained to watch through the night.
“Our citizens, in general, worked with a will (including several ladies, to the shame and shame of many lazy bipeds who looked at him and saw him) to stop the progression of the fire and save the property of their neighbors. . No serious accidents occurred, although a few narrow escapes are mentioned. The cause of the fire is unknown.
This corner has been totally destroyed. JH Bridge bought the property and built the large brick block that later housed Ruf Confectionery in the same location where Rainbow Confections is now located.
– Matt Figi is a resident of Monroe and a local historian. His column will appear periodically on Saturdays in the Times. He can be reached at [email protected] or 608-325-6503.