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The Great Fire Of 1908 Essay

1086 words - 5 pages

When most people drive downtown, they are almost always in a hurry. But, if a person actually stops and looks around, it is easily seen that Fond du Lac contains a lot of history. Every old church and store in this city has a special story connected to it. When a disaster strikes, the story can be lost; only to be found again through old newspapers. These churches meant a great deal to the citizens of Fond du Lac during the time of their existence. Couples were married, babies baptized, and generations of families gathered on Sunday mornings for worship in these churches. In the early days, catastrophic fires threatened these structures, and Fond du Lac did not have a proper fire department ...view middle of the document...

The wardens hoped to gather at least thirty members. Until the winter of 1852, Fond du Lac did not have many destructive fires. In 1852, a fire in December burned the whole east side of Main Street. It was twenty-two degrees below zero at the time of the fire and the water buckets were completely frozen. Nothing could be done, except let it burn.
The petition asking for the purchase of buying a fire engine was brought up again, but this time the Village Council allowed for the purchase to be made. K.A. Darling went to Troy, New York, and found an engine for twenty-eight hundred dollars. The first fire company was officially created on December 18th, 1854. Cisterns were built to collect rainwater. Rivers and ponds also provided a source of water for the department. A city ordinance was passed that said, “in case of fire, any pails or buckets offered for sale could be seized by the bucket company” (Reinhardt 10).
The Great Fire of 1908 occurred on September 25th. It originated from the Crescent Auto and Machine Company’s garage. Crossed electrical wires under the old stage in the garage were to blame. The smoke seemed to be the thickest at the back at the time of the fire. The flames reached the front of the garage and ignited the gasoline tanks creating an explosion that blew off the roof and the walls off the building. It quickly spread from the garage via a strong breeze from the south, to St. Joseph’s church.
When the flames reached the church, fire brands, which are burning pieces of wood, flew onto the spires of the First Congregational Church. This church is located almost two blocks away. When the spire started to fall, the firemen were told to move out of the way. But, the last man off the scene was hit by a falling brick and luckily only lost his helmet. In about forty-five minutes the church was lost to the flames.
Residents of the “Burning District” began to worry that their homes would be included in the path of destruction. Everyone helped each other out and moved furniture and personal belongings...

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