Fire destroys a goodly portion of Dawson’s business
section on June 9, 1890.
The biggest fire loss that Dawson has ever sustained was
over 122 years ago when almost the entire business section was destroyed.
The following interesting account of the fire is taken from a copy of the
Dawson Independent of that week. We are unable to learn where this
issue of the paper was published as the Independent plant was destroyed in the
fire, but presumably it was printed at Humboldt.
“At precisely four o’clock last Monday afternoon the
hardware and implement house of J.W. Herlocker was discovered to be on
Charlie Herlocker went into the cellar
to draw some gasoline. Reaching the tank he turned the faucet and
at the same instant the cellar was filled with flame. With a determined rush,
Charlie reached the steps and came up and gave the alarm, but owing to the dense
smoke the store could not be entered.
The fire originated in the cellar among
barrels of coal oil and a tank of gasoline, and was beyond all control a moment
after it has started. It was at once seen that the entire heart of
the city was to be wiped out of existence by the dreaded fire in a very short
time. Citizens came to the scene of the fire and lent willing
hands in saving what property they could. The intense heat and smoke prevented
any work being done in at hardware so the work was confined to the saving of the
As soon as the fire got under headway
terrific explosions took place, blowing debris a hundred feet high.
M.L. Libbee succeeded in saving what goods were in his show cases, but
his magnificent stock of drugs, paints, oils etc. were all lost.
G.W. Jones barber shop was one door north of Herlocker’s implement and
was quickly licked up by the flames. Mr. Jones succeeded in saving
almost everything. Next came a two story building being used was a
restaurant, under the management of Miss Sharshall, a young lady who was just
getting a start in business and was meeting with good
success. This building was dry and made an intense fire.
Miss Sharshall lost goods to the amount of about $70. Next
was the billiard hall of E.T Hanna. Mr. Hanna saved a peanut
roaster and a refrigerator, but his billiard tables were consumed.
Loss of $1100 and had no insurance. But the fire still
swept on and caught on the Buser building, occupied by the Independent
Newspaper. This building being the last in the row, everything was
saved but considerable property was badly damaged. Loss on the
building was $1000 and no insurance.
Mr. Herlocker is the heaviest loser, his
loss being about $10,000, with no insurance. By steady and hard
work the part of the block occupied by S.C. Barlow and Son was saved.
Damage to stock and building was $1200 with insurance of
Never did a crowd of men work more nobly
in saving property and the rapidity with which Jim Burgett hauled water to the
scene of the fire was admired by all.
Mr. Herlocker came near losing his life
in the flames. He entered the burning hardware store to close the
safe. Being unable to find the safe because of the heat and
smoke, he was almost suffocated and as he turned to come out,
the floor gave way under the tons of shelf ware and began to sink.
One of Charlie’s legs went through the floor and summoning up all his
strength, he scrambled out and rushed for the door, reaching the street in
safety. A moment after the floor and building fell in with an
Our populace was surprised to see E.T.
Hama come dragging a lot of new lumber in among the ruins early Tuesday morning,
and by noon Mr. Hana had a building half done. He moved in that
evening and in less than 24 hours after the fire was doing business in a new
building. Ed is a hustler.
About half of Humboldt’s citizens came
down Tuesday to see the ruins. And in many instances help in the
Dawson clean up.
The following is a
list of losses and insurance: S.C. Barlow and Son loss $1200 with
insurance of $1000; M.L. Libbee loss $2500 covered by $1000 insurance. J.W.
Herlocker loss of $10,000 with no insurance; G. W. Jones loss of $75, no
insurance; M. J. Sharshall, loss of $70, no insurance; E.T. Hana, loss of $1100,
no insurance; E.W. Buser, loss of $1100, no insurance. Most all of
the merchants planned to borrow and rebuild.