THE FIRE OF NOVEMBER 7, 1884

Taken from the Tuesday, November 11, 1884, edition of The Palatka Herald in the possession of Larry Beaton. Transcription by Robert Tindall. Larry Beaton's copy is only a fragment of the entire newspaper. Brackets [] are used below to denote those areas where the text is missing from the original. This material does not appear to have been published before.


The Herald is now located over Capt. R. R. Reid's Brick Store.

Local News

Nearly all of our merchants will soon be in good running order again.

W. H. Rosenburg has moved his dental office over Lilienthals furniture store, where he is prepared to do all kinds of dental work.

All persons indebted to THE HERALD will please come forward and settle their accounts, as we will need all the indebtedness due us to run while business is so crippled.

Mr. B. L. Lilienthal requests us to state that none of his furniture was damaged in the late fire, and that he is still selling at a very low figure in his old stand. See change in advertisement.

Out of the fire! Only drug house in the city! Ackerman & Jackson have bought out Priddy's drug store located in the Masonic building, and now have the ONLY drug store in the city. Full line--will be sold at bottom figures.

Capt. Reid desires us to contradict the reports circulated by some one "that he had raised his prices on account of the fire" as it is not so; he has kept them the same as before the fire. In fact he refused to job any supplies, so as to keep them at retail and same prices for his customers, friends and the public generally.

The readers of THE HERALD will please excuse the small amount of local news in to-days paper. At one time during the fire things looked very blue around our office; so much so that we began to pack up and were ready to bid our office a good-bye for the present. Consequently there was a good deal of mixed type which had to be sorted in order to get out the paper on time. Hence the deficiency.

Business in Palatka for this season will hardly recover from the loss of the desastrous fire on Friday night. All the business part of the city is in ashes. The flames licked up sixty-five houses within the short space of three hours. The loss of the Putnam [ ] with the new addition [ ] , together with the Larkin House, will be sadly felt this winter. The loss of public travel to this point will paralyze various industries. This great calamity is just what has been predicted and looked for by our citizens. Still, iwth this danger threatening them, there was but little effort made to meet such emergency. The fire department was anything but efficient. Is is now acknowledged that prompt attention by a competent fire department could have saved the city from ruin. But it is too late now. The people of Palatka, have learned a lesson which will be useful to them in the future. We dan all see now just what is needed. The new Palatka will rise, like the Phoenix from the ashes, and upon the ruins will rise buildings that will stand the test of fire and give confidence to the increasing business of the place. There is no better place on the St. Johns river for the investment of capital. Midst all the losses it is noted that our people have sustained themselves with becoming patience and resignation. The lesson, however, of the hour teaches us the mutability of all things, and shows how easy it is for our brightest prospects to fade away like the leaf of autumn. It is a matter of profound thankfulness that not a single life was lost, and not a limb fractured.

PALATKA IN ASHES !

THE BUSINESS PORTION OF TOWN BURNED TO THE GROUND
OF FOUR BLOCKS NOT A VESTIGE REMAINS
LOSS $1,000,000 !

On Friday night last the most eventful occasion in the history of Palatka and perhaps the most destructive that will ever visit it again was witnessed. The hour of 10:30 was reached; the night being cold and damp most of the inhabitants had retired. Suddenly the startling ring of a bell was heard followed by cries of fire! fire! that soon brought every citizen to his feet. The reflection and blaze located the spot with out direction, and here the crowd gathered.

The warehouse back of the store of Devereux, Rogero & Son, was on fire and being fanned by a heavy northeast wind burst out in surging flames before the steam engine and firemen could start the streams. It was now plaonly evident to every one's mind that the worst was yet to come.

With an apparent madness the fire leaped upon Griffin's wooden block, crawling up the sides and over the top with with the air of a disciplined preciseness, consuming the mercantile establishments of Devereux, Rogero & Son, Lansing & Co., Green & Co., and the Hotel Palatka.

This being one of the largest blocks in town and in the very heart of the city, acted as a distributing point for the work of destruction. The furious flames then leaped in three directions as follows: across Lemon and Water streets and up the west side of Lemon Street. It was plain to every one that the fire had gained control and the city was

DOOMED

With fate against them our gallant firemen nevertheless fought with stubborn determination, concentrating the streams of water where most needed. The flames crossed Lemon Street and being driven by a strong wind soon consumed every building the entire length of the block and at the same time firing the magnificent

LARKIN HOUSE

in the center of the block, consuming it in a remarkably short space of time. The Presbyterian church adjoining the Larkin House just south, came next and was speedily consumed. Here the flames ceased in this direction as the Presbyterian church was of brick and on a triangular lot, consequently it left a space of more than a hundred feet to the J. T. & K. W. R. R. depot. This they protected after strenuous efforts and thereby saved the greater part of that end of town. How the buildings fronting the Larkin on the west were saved, is remarkable.

Dropping back to where the fire first began to spread, we will track the flames in its course along the

WATER'S EDGE

From the Hotel Palatka the flames jumped across Lemon Street to Graham's Hotel, just opposite. From here across Water Street to Dunn's store. Here the destroyer had a fair wind and swept everything before it in about an hour's time, consisting of Lane's hardware establishment, Hart's office and packing house, Young's packing house, old PALATKA HERALD building, Larkin ware and gas houses, Lucas' boat house and Dalton's wood-yard including building and machinery, also one thousand feet of dock. Going north the blaze destroyed Adam's warehouse, and from there to Griffin's long warehouse, igniting it in an instant, and with an apparently easy walk-over of fully a half-million dollars more, as the Florida Southern depot and other valuable property lay in line. But this was not to be; at this instant our

GALLANT FIREMEN,

The mechanics, rushed into the building and fought the flames with a determination that seemed like madness. They were in four feet of the fire, inside the building, and refused to giveway an inch; the black smoke completely engulfed them but they moved not; two barrels of oil exploded in the same room with them, but they didn't flinch, and stood until the building was out and the north end of town safe, for it certainly would have gone but for this. By this time the Mechanics of Jacksonville, who had been telegraphed for, came

TO THE RESCUE

and did good work in quieting the flames that were somewhat subdued in the neighborhood of the J. T. & K. W. depot. Much would have been accomplished had this company reached here in time, but they were unfortunately detained two hours in Jacksonville after they reached the depot. Nevertheless we feel gratefule for the generousity displayed.

Taking the western course of the flame, it burnt up both sides of Lemon Street demolishing everthing before it until it reached Front Street; thence up both sided of Front to Reid Street, carrying as it did on Lemon, everything before it, including the famous

PUTNAM HOUSE

and every other building on the block, also the First National Bank just opposite. The little cottage opposite the Putnam on the corner of Front and Reid Streets was torn down, and an abundance of water being thrown upon it, stopped the fiery fiend as there was nothing for it to prey upon. Eighty places of business, comprising sixty buildings were destroyed. The terrible calamity has thrown many out of employment, and some business men we are afraid are ruined. To view the ruins of this once busy centre, makes it hard to realize that it is old Palatka, Gem City of the St. Johns.

We learn that arrangements are being made for the erection of several brick buildings, and we predict ere long to boast of the handsomest city of its size in the state.

LOSSES.

Putnam House and buildings, loss $125,000, insurance $75,000.
Larkin House and buildings, loss $110,000, insurance $63,000.
Devereaux, Rogero & Son, dry goods, groceries and liquors, loss $45,000, insurance $18,000.
L. Falk, dry goods, loss $22,000, insurance $5,000.
Griffin's brick block, loss $18,000, partly insured.
Grimm's frame building including Hotel Palatka, loss $20,000, partly insured.
A. M. Haughton & Bro., grocers loss $5,500, insurance $3,000.
Kennerly & Co., grocery and hardware, loss $22,000, partly insured.
S. J. Kennerly, loss on building $15,000, partly insured.
H. L. Green & Co., shoe store, loss $7,500, partly insured.
John T. Dunn, grocer, loss $20,000, insurance $8,000.
Vertrees & co., hay and grain, loss $1,600, insurance $1,000.
W. O. Wolz, Gem Pharmacy, loss $4,300, insurance $1,000.
W. H. Rosenburg, dentist, loss $1,000, no insurance.
B. L. Lilienthal, furniture, loss $400, covered by insurance.
C. L. Hasbrook & Co., orange packers, loss $300, no insurance.
A. Knight, tinner, loss $400, no insurance.
Chas Smith, butcher, loss $300, no insurance.
John Usina, damage to building $500, covered by insurance.
Moragne Pharmacy, loss $4,500, insurance $2,000.
John Murray, confectioner, stock damage $75.
C. M. D'Autrey, tobaccos and fruits, loss $1,000, insurance $500.
C. E. Warren, furniture damaged, $100.
D. Young, orange packer, loss $800, insurance $600.
F. C. Cochrane, stationer, loss $3,000, insurance $3,000.
W. V. Cross, butcher, loss $20[ ] insurance.
E. T. Lane, hardware, loss $15,000, partly insured.
Graham & Co., hotel furniture, loss $8,000, insurance $1,500.
M. H. Dalton, wood yard, loss $2,500, partly insured.
Calhoun & Gillis, law office, damaged $100, covered by insurance.
P. & H. Petermann, buildings damaged $500, covered by insurance.
W. H. Wigg, law office, loss $200.
Mangold & Son, photographers, loss $1,200, insurance $800.
Putnam Pharmacy, loss $3,000, partly insured.
Marcus Loeb, dry goods and clothing, loss $25,000, insurance $10,000.
Putnam County Journal, loss $100, no insurance.
A. Usina, toys and notions, loss $4,500, insurance $500.
R. J. Adams, warehouse stock, loss $500, no insurance.
Ackermann & Jackson, [], loss $4,000, insurance $[].
W. C. Snow, post office building, loss $4,000, insurance $[].
Brenan & Vevil, plasterers, lost $500 on Fry & Carters new building. No insurance.
A. G. Philips, jeweler, stock damaged $300, covered by insurance.
Webb & Nichols, land brokers, loss $5,000, partly insured.
Dr. Crabb, loss on office, $40.
Presbyterian Church, loss $15,000, insurance $5,000.
J. E. Lucas, boat yard, loss $7,000, insurance $1,000.
I. Jacobson, dry goods, shoes &c., loss $25,000, insurance $8,000.
H. L. Hart, buildings, etc., loss $30,000, insurance $7,000.
E. H. Padgett, grocer, loss $5,000, partly insured.
W. J. Zumwalt, furniture, loss $4,500, insurance $1,500.
Drs. Estes, dentists, loss $1,500, insurance $750.
Mrs. Hickman, buildings loss $4,000, partly insured.
E. D. Earle, dry goods, loss $15,000, insurance $7,000.
Mrs. Sam Smith, loss on building and trees, $1,000, no insurance.
Jos. Price, loss on building, $4,500, insurance $2,000.
Edmunds, barber, loss $500, covered by insurance.
James Sands, taxidermist, loss $1,500, covered by insurance.
H. W. Klicker, tailor, loss $122.
John DeVall, buildings, loss $2,000, partially insured.
First National Bank buildings and furniture, loss $4,500, insurance $2,000.
Lansing & Co., grocery, loss $2,000, partially insured.
A. H. Finley, barber, loss $250.
I. Harkins Hilliard, insurance office, loss $300, insured.
Fry & Carter, loss on building, $5,000, partly insured.
Cuban Cigar Store, loss $600.
Brown & Co., restaurant, loss $1,000, partly insured.
J. B. Buser, land agent, loss $500, partly insured.
Mrs. Jos Mann, buildings, loss $5,000, partly insured.
A. W. Mann, butcher--buildings, loss $5,000, partly insured.
J. M. Ramsaur, livery, loss $1,000, insurance partly.
W. Thompson, law office, $300.
Other losses, individually, which cannot be learned, but will reach up between $15,000 and $25,000.

NOTES.

No one was killed.

The town was "painted red."

Two thieves were shot at while retreating with stolen goods.

The Chief of the fire department was prominent on the occasion.

It is amusing to look over the many reports of the fire. No two are alike.

The old hand press which served the HERALD in its infancy was burned.

Fry's brick block stood the test well, and saved the buildings in the rear of it.

The beautiful orange shade trees so much admired by the traveling public succumbed to the flames.


Back to Historical Documents.