Seven Stores in Ashes!!
From Thirty to Forty Thousand Dollars Worth of Property Destroyed!

Originally published in the "Decatur Weekly Gazette", 5 Jan 1859

Last night, (the 30th inst.) at about 12 o'clock, our citizens were aroused by the alarm of fire. when it was found that a small frame building occupied by Lowenstein & Bro's Young America Clothing House, was in flames. Before it could be extinguished the flames caught into the adjoining three story wood building on the east, known as Templar's Hall, the first story of which was occupied by T.H. Wingate's New York Store, and John Holsworth, as a bakery and confectionary. The rear of the building occupied by James Faust as a hat and cap store, on Water street, was discovered to be on fire about the same time. The fire also spread rapidly toward the west, inclosing the Auctions store of Fuller & Genton, from thence to Wm. Scanlon, a clothing store, from thence to George Goodman's grocery and provision store, where the ravages ceased, the adjoining building being brick, resisted the flames. The stock of hats and caps, in the store of James Faust, were mostly saved, but in a damaged condition, damaged about 400 dollars. The stock of the Young American Clothing House was entirely consumed. Insured for $5000. The Confectionary and Bakery stock was also lost. Insured, $1000. The greater portion of the goods in Fuller and Benton's Auction Store were lost. Part of the stock of Groceries in Goodman's Grocery Store were saved. Damaged about $400. We are not advised as yet of the aggregate amount of loss, but suppose it to be near $30,000. Four of the buildings, viz: the Hat Store, the N.Y. Store, the Young American, and the confectionary belonged to B.F. Montgomery. The Auction Store belonged to C.H. Fuller, and the Grocery building to Goodman and Baker. On Montgomery's buildings were was no insurance. We are not advised whether the other buildings are insured or not.

Fire is said to have issued from the partition between the bakery and Lowenstein & Bro. A wooden door connected the two establishments. The bake oven was filled with wood for drying.

It is a matter of congratulation that in consequence of the calmness of the weather - not a breeze stirring - none of the fine bricks adjoining, and in close proximity to the burning buildings, were injured. Had it been otherwise than perfectly calm, the heart of our city must have been lain in ashes. Unprotected as we are against the ravages of fire, by oven ladders, water or buckets, nothing could be done but look on and see the devouring element do its work of destruction. Citizens arouse. Let last night's work admonish us to take some action in the way of averting a similar and more destructive fire. Let the City Council appoint fire wardens, prepare ladders and buckets, build cisterns, and be ready to protect our people against another such calamity.


A fellow, whose name we suppress for the preset(sic), was seen making off with a large mirror, but was overtaken and deprived of his booty. A large lot of goods were stolen, but we hope steps will be immediately taken by the officers to recover them and bring the guilty wretches to Justice. Desperately low in the scale of humanity must be the creature who would rob the unfortunate in the excitement of fire.

A fine New Foundland dog in the store of Loewenstein Bro's. being left in a back room was burned up; his charred remains were found in the ruins.

The heaviest loss has perhaps fallen upon Leowenstein Bros., as not an article on their extensive clothing house was saved, so rapidly did the flames extend at that point. - Both the proprietors being at the hotel in their beds at the time, their private property, including several valuable gold watches were destroyed with the rest. Mr. hardy, a clerk in the New York store, also lost his wardrobe and property amounting to $150.00.

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