SPRAGUE FIRE of August 3, 1895
from The Sprague Herald
8 No 18 of Aug 7, 1895
Submitted by Marge Womach
SPRAGUE IN ASHES
the most progressive and prosperous city of its size in all the Pacific
Northwest, peopled by a prosperous, contented people; a city that last Saturday
was one of the proudest cities on earth, is today a waste of blackened ruins,
its peoples homeless, many of them with complete ruin staring them in the
faceóand all from a spark of fire from a blacksmithís chimney.
11:30 AM, Saturday, an alarm of fire was given from the blacksmith shop of
Archie McIntosh, adjoining Bryantís chop mill, facing Railroad
Avenue. The flames had dry boards to feed upon, and in five minutesí time had
enveloped the chop mill adjoining and was reaching out for other victims. Before
the feed mill was half consumed, the fire had extended to the rear of the old Gehres
& Hertrich building, occupied by the Sprague Independent, and with
the rear end used by Gehres & Hertrich as a storeroom for all their oil.
When this building became ignited, all hopes of saving any of the row of wooden
buildings was gone, and it began to look doubtful for the balance of the city.
wind was blowing due northeast, and the flames, fanned by it, spread rapidly.
One building after another caught fire, and within thirty minutes after the
first alarm was given, all the business portion of Sprague was in flames, and at
2 PM, nothing was left of the business part of Sprague but a few blackened and
shapeless piles of brick and stoneóthe smoldering embers of a once prosperous
in so short a space of time, was such terrible and complete ruin wrought by the
fire fiend. Absolutely nothing was left in its track,
from the time the flames left the new Gehres & Hertrich brick block
to mark the spot where it began, until they had wiped out every business and
dwelling house, church and saloon, from D Street east, a distance of more than
half a mile. A space of four blocks wide by half a mile in length, containing
property valued at nearly two million dollars, was left in that two hoursí
march, smoldering in ruin. From the well filled stocks of our merchants, little
or nothing was saved, and what was saved was so badly soiled as to be almost
Sprague Fire Department, assisted by the citizens, fought hard to stay the
conflagration, but to stop it was impossible. Before its onward rush, everything
was forced to give way, and in less time than it takes to tell it, almost the
entire business portion of the town was in ruins. Block after block of costly
stores were enwrapped in the lurid flames, until it seemed as though the whole
city had been fired at one touch. The wind was in the fireís favor, and
spurred it on to renewed efforts, hastening the work of destruction.
It was all over soon, but the memory of it will live forever in the minds of the citizens of Sprague.
feed mill & wood yard and McIntoshís blacksmith shop and corral.
The old Gehres & Hertrich building, occupied by the Independent
office, also used by Gehres & Hertrich as an ice house and oil storeroom.
building, occupied by Dr Jacobs as dental parlors.
Leeís wash house, owner unknown.
& Ameryís feed store.
& Meadís blacksmith shop.
owned by J L Garvey, and unoccupied.
& Ameryís implement warehouse, full of farming implements.
E Winterís saloon and contents.
sample rooms and bar, owned by Geo F Gehnighoff.
& Charboneauís store, the Model Restaurant and the Sprague
Packing Co, buildings all owned by H M Schneider and occupied as
business houses by firms mentioned.
J F Hallís general merchandise store, Post office, Fred Suppís
shoe store, Davies & Co general merchandise store, the Mail,
Stooke & Ameryís hardware store, and the offices of Cooper
& Sanderson, Merritt & Salisbury, H N Martin,
and the AOUW lodge room also occupied by the Maccabes, ORT,
ORC, and other lodges, all buildings owned by E M Kinnear.
York Racket Store,
general merchandise, owned by Geo Murphy.
building owned by Wm Kropke.
store and dwelling house.
Buckleyís Tinshop in the K of P building.
occupied by W H Oldís City Drug Store, and G H Gilpinís large
general merchandise store; large empty store building; store building occupied
by Wells the Jeweler and White the Tailor; all owned
by Henry Herbring of The Dalles, Oregon.
& Astrupís Saloon,
building owned by Joe Wormald.
building owned by W H Olds.
Heroldís barber shop; J W Weyerís shoe shop.
general merchandise, stock owned by F D Morrill and the building owned
by Sprague Lodge IOOF.
Ettlesonís Saloon and W R Petersí Harness shop, buildings
owned by Ben Ettleson.
barn and store, unoccupied.
tailor shop; A W Hollandís real estate office; Inland Telephone Coís
plant and office; buildings owned by strangers.
Y Williamsí second hand store and W P Putnamsí drug store;
office of Dr D W Buchanan, buildings owned by W P Putnam.
occupied by many secret societies; the Christian Church; buildings owned
by Masonic Lodge.
Van Allenís blacksmith shop.
Opera House, unoccupied, owned by Thos Dewant.
H Stantonís residence and barn.
R Jonesí residence and empty store building.
Winterís shoe shop and residence.
T Catonís law office.
W Lowe and L Y Williamsí dwellings, owned by Mrs Rasch.
Edmistonís dwelling, owned by Dr Olds.
Hall and Troop
Aís Armory and Sprague Fire Department.
office, owned by J Moore & Co, San Francisco.
Newman & Coís general mer-chandise store, overhead occupied by D Vinyard,
Jackson Brock and J M Gunning.
W Ryanís Saloon and new store building.
B Whiteís buildings, occupied by Beardsleeís paint shop, Hagenís
carpenter shop, Mrs Mooreís restaurant and Hickís hardware
Moore & Coís vacant store building.
B Burneís residence.
ten small dwellings, owners unknown.
saloon, Flaigís jewelry store and Mcquaidís fish market, all
owned by Miss Minser of Tacoma.
H Linderís cigar store.
W Reedís jewelry store and the OK barber shop, owned by White.
Frank Parker shoe shop, Eckhardtís cigar factory and an empty
store owned by W P Murray.
J Burnsí saloon, with lodge-rooms overhead.
Moore & Sonís grocery store.
Leeís wash house.
McLennanís empty store building.
and Mint Saloon buildings, unoccupied, owned by P Clinton.
Petersonís dwelling house.
vacant buildings, owned by John Bracken.
SIDE of TRACK
Klebaís paint shop.
Ebellís dressmaking rooms; J Bartolís building; Mrs Lon Conleeís
restaurant; Wm Evansí blacksmith shopóall owned by a stock company.
livery barn and hay barns, owned by John Garvey.
by Mrs Jane Evans.
W Jansenís carpenter shop.
Wooís wash house, owned by Tom Dewant.
B Hooperís residence, owned by Mrs A Sawyer.
outbuildings, owned by J Sawyer.
house, owned by Sawyer.
of McGill & Bernard, owned by John Kirk.
dwelling houses owned by W J Slattery.
J Allenís residence.
J Turpinís residence.
O Porakís brewery, ice house, barn and brick dwelling house.
F Finleyís residence, owned by W J Cowing.
dwelling of J Fogarty.
Wichmanís vacant dwelling.
Manckeís residence, owned by A Riley.
Millerís vacant dwelling house.
A dozen small dwellings, owned by shop men, names unknown.
Every piece of property from the Northern Pacific
Elevator on the west to the Northern Pacific stockyards on the east, a distance
of half a mile crowded with railroad property was burned. The list includes:
N P Wheat Elevator.
City depot and Western Union telegraph office.
Old warehouse where material was stored.
Two ice houses.
Car repairerís office and oil rooms.
Two coal sheds, and all the bunkers, containing about 400,000 tons of
Master Mechanicís office.
Headquarters buildings, that cost $50,000 to build.
Two water tanks.
Section house, occupied by John Fogarty.
Ninety five freight cars and cabooses, many of them being in bad order, and only ten or fifteen of them being loaded.
All these buildings were in the track of the fire, and all of them went. Those of our readers who are familiar with Sprague as she was will realize from the list our cityís terrible loss. To those who are not familiar with our city, it is only necessary to state that, from a city with nearly 200 business houses, only the bank, one hardware store, one drug store, one harness shop, three general merchandise stores, one furniture store, one photograph gallery, and one newspaper office, The Herald, are leftóasloe from the lumber yards and flouring mills, which were many blocks removed from the scene of the fire.
The following list, which, so far as it goes is
accurate and may be relied upon, will give you an idea of the losses and
Sprague Packing Co (10,000) no ins.
H M Schneider (6,000) no ins.
B B Burke (2,000) 1,000 ins.
Lieurance & Astrup (1,000) 400 ins.
H ___________ (________) ___
Geo F Bennighoff
John Bartol & Co (800) no ins
J H Linder (800) 775 ins.
Murphy & Burns (18,000) 2,000 ins.
O K Barber Shop (100) no ins
A Wichman (200) no ins
Davies & Co (20,000) 3,500 ins.
Charlie Woo (300) no ins
W R White (1,000) 200 ins
R L Wells (500) no ins.
W H Olds (7,000) 3,350 ins.
Geo Cosgrove (2,500) no ins
Gehres & Hertrich (6,000) 600 ins
T F Meagher (2000) 500 ins.
W J Cowing (700) 450 ins
A Riley (600) 300 ins.
Mrs F W Littlefield (3,000) 1,750 ins.
J Moore & Son (5,300) 1,150 ins.
W Weyer (3,500) 200 ins.
B Flaig (600) 350 ins.
George Price (500) no ins.
W R Peters (300) 300 ins.
P Peterson (500) no ins.
Frank Parker (50) no ins.
Stooke & Amery (9,000) 5,200 ins.
R R Jones (1,000) no ins
J W Littlefield (1,800) 800 ins.
W F Finley (1,000) no ins.
John Garvey (2,500) 1,150 ins.
J W Ryan (10,000) 2,400 ins.
Henry Herbring (27,000) 6,000 ins.
A W Holland (900) 300 ins.
F L Edmiston (500) no ins.
G H Gilpin (23,000) 9,000 ins.
City of Sprague (14,000) 3,000 ins.
County of Lincoln (2,500) 2,000 ins.
J Culross (200) no ins.
Astrup & Lee (700) 325 ins.
R E Winters (1,000) 700 ins.
A J Turpin (300) no ins
Mrs Jane Evans (4,000) 2,000 ins.
Jas Burns (300) no ins.
F D Morrill (12,000) 2,000 ins.
Fred Stipps (500) no ins.
John Bracken (2,000) no ins.
John Kleba (500) no ins.
Ben Ettelson (2,100) 1,250 ins.
C Briggs (1,000) no ins.
C Hagen (100) no ins.
Geo Troy (500) 150 ins.
A Miller (200) no ins.
R Newman & Co (22,000) 14,000 ins.
L Y Williams (800) no ins.
N T Caton (500) no ins.
D Winters (1,200) no ins.
Otto Arnold (600) no ins.
J Starling (700) no ins.
R B Hooper (250) no ins.
John Kirk (2,000) no ins
Geo Beardslee (450) no ins
T J Allen (1,500) 500 ins.
Dr Whitney (150) no ins
C F Eckhardt (500) no ins.
Masonic Lodge (4,000) 2,000 ins.
E H Stanton (1,000) no ins.
C E Richards (450) no ins.
Joe Wormald (1,400) 700 ins.
H N Martin (150) no ins.
Cooper & Sanderson (400) 250 ins.
J Roberts (1,500) no ins.
J W Reed (500) no ins.
R O Porak (45,000) 2,400 ins.
Dr Buchanan (50) no ins.
Mrs M Heard (10,000) 1,500 ins.
W F Thompson (2,000) no ins.
J Barber (1,200) no ins.
J Sandygreen (200) no ins.
Wm Buckley (250) 200 ins.
A McIntosh (1,500) no ins.
Tom Smith (500) no ins.
Dr Putnam (6,000) 3,200 ins.
J F Hall (9,000) 4,000 ins.
J Sawyer (12,000) no ins.
Paul Herold (650) no ins.
A W Lowe (100) no ins.
L F Williams (1,000) no ins.
Palmer & Rey (800) 500 ins.
Sprague Mail (900) 500 ins.
Jim Lee (500) no ins.
Tom Dewant (2,000) no ins.
J M Gunning (100) no ins.
Jackson Brock (100) no ins.
A McLellan (300) no ins.
P Clinton (1,000) no ins.
Mrs Ebell (250) no ins.
S W Sensen (300) no ins.
McGill & Bernard (150) no ins.
ďWhitechapelĒ (3,000) no ins.
John Fogarty (2,000) no ins.
Gus Mancke (400) no ins.
J W Bryant (1,600) no ins.
Odd Fellows (1,800) 950 ins.
AOUW (350) 295 ins.
K of P (1,300) 700 ins.
E M Kinnear (25,000) 6,600 ins.
Miss Minser (1,200) 700 ins.
A VanAllen (400) no ins.
R Morrison (1,500) no ins.
Methodist Church (2,000) 1,000 ins.
B B White (1,500) no ins.
Jesse Moore & So (1,000) no ins.
W P Murray (800) no ins.
Rathbone Sisters (150) no ins.
W D Sorenson (2,000) 500 ins.
Mrs Rasch (1,200) 500 ins.
N P Railroad (750,000) unknown ins.
The insurance policies on property within the fire
limits were held by the following local insurance writers:
Cooper & Sanderson
Holland & Son
R K McComb
Sprague Fires, Sprague, Washington submitted to the WAGenWeb
January, 2006 by Marge Womach
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