From the Yellow Springs Torch, July 26, 1895:



Six Buildings Go Down Before the Devouring Flames.

Although we are getting tolerably well used to big fires in Yellow Springs the alarm that came on yesterday afternoon attracted the usual attention, and to say that we all turned out to see the fire is expressing it mildly.

Photograph courtesy of Antiochiana, Antioch College.

Photograph courtesy of Antiochiana, Antioch College.

Since the big fire of May 6th that took the Little elevator and the flat iron block, the ruins of which yet remain, there has been more or less talk about some kind of fire protection, but do nothing seems to have had the floor and right of way, anyway the insure and let-it-burn idea has held down any suggestion for protection, and hence the fire of Thursday got in its perfect work without very much trouble.

In short a big fire in our village has come to be regarded as a kind of picnic, or monotony breaker; for we must have something going on, and a fire is the easiest thing to push along, because it pushes itself without any effort on the part of our wide awake and spirited citizens.  Probably there may be some action toward proper protection against fire outside of the insurance companies, some time before all the town is burned down, but this may be a rash statement, hence we make it guardedly.

The fire yesterday started in the oven room of the Adsit bakery on the east side of Xenia avenue at 3 o’clock and when discovered smoke and flames were bursting from the shed roof, and a quick survey of the surroundings was enough to ensure a devastating coflagration (sic) that would eclipse anything the town has been able to offer in this line during the fire season, and so it proved. The bucket brigade fought the flames with remarkable energy, pluck and endurance, until the heat and lack of water drove them away, and then the only thing to do was to save property and a great work was done in this way.

July 1895 Insurance Map illustrating where the fire started and other locations mentioned in the article.

July 1895 Insurance Map illustrating where the fire started and other locations mentioned in the article.

In the mean time the same old Macedonian cry was telephoned to Xenia and Springfield for help, and as usual the respose (sic) was quick and ready and the fire were with us again, but where to get the water was the sickening question. The water cisterns that furnish probably enough water to wash the dishes after a light breakfast were regarded as hardly sufficient for a steam engine, hence Springfield was sent down in the glen, and Xenia finally located at the Torch office cistern in time to play on the Winters house in in front while Springfield attacked the rear, and the house was saved from total destruction, and thus saving the  balance of the block to Glen street.

The hunt for water took time, and we heard some of our citizens complain of the fire departments for being so slow, and we suppose they expected the fire boys to bring the water with them.

From the bakery the fire soon extended to the Dickman Bros. hardware store, then to O. L. Stephenson’s grocery, but by hard work by the bucket brigade, Dr. Humphrey’s house and barn were saved and the fire prevented from coming further north, but it burned southward taking the bakery, the hotel building occupied by O. L. Stephenson and the sheds and barns in the rear and  Squire Dummond’s office on Glen street, then into the Winters’ hotel which was the last to take fire, and was saved from total destruction by the hard work of the bucket men, and finally by the Xenia and Springfield firemen who soon stopped the fire after they found a little bit of water in the TORCH office cistern, and now the TORCH office can’t wash until it rains, but we are not kicking about that, for if Dr. Humphrey’s barn had burned the fire would have come north by way of a nice procession of sheds and stables, just right for a fire to have fun with and the fire would have got the balance of our effects, and a glance at our fire insurance policy was sufficient to inform us that the thing had expired, so we were somewhat interested in saving intervening property.

After exhausting the TORCH cistern the Xenia engine was taken to Dr. Baker’s cistern, but just then the engine that that it had done enough and failed to work, anyway this was the second time the fire boys had been here fighting fire without getting a cent for their work, but this did not seem to discourage them in their efforts to do what they could, and this is to certify that our thanks are due Chief Simpson and his men of Springfield, and Chief Davidson and his men, of Xenia, hoping, however that before we may need them again for a similar service that our village council may take it into their heads to vote the fire boys a dollar or so.

The total loss will reach $15,000 or more, which mostly will be born by the insurance companies.  The Stephenson Grocery building was a total loss, was owned by William Bunyan who holds an insurance of $1200; Stephenson had $800 on his grocery stock, but new stock had just been received and his lost will be about $300; most of his household goods were carried out, on which he had $200 insurance.  Dickman Bros., hardware store, total loss, insurance $2,000 on stock and $900 on building.


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