Posted By:Deborah Brownfield - Stanley
Subject:The Big Fire ~ W. B. E. Lusk ~ Chariton, Iowa
Post Date:September 21, 2004 at 05:45:52
Message URL:
Forum:Lusk Family Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:

The Chariton Leader, Chariton, Iowa
Thursday, January 4, 1906

That Chariton has had another big fire, destroying an immense amount of property, is well known to our readers we think. And from the diminutive size of the Leader our readers may know that it was mixed up in the fire.

About one o'clock last Saturday morning, fire was discovered in the Oxford Cafe, run by A.L. SWIFT. The ringing of the fire bell, and the cry of fire brought out the fire fighters, and the citizens of the town. After fighting heroically for hours the fire was gotten under control, but not till six business houses were destroyed. While the firemen were battling with the flames, the citizens were nobly assisting the business men to remove their goods from the burning buildings. The total loss amounts to near $60,000 and the insurance was less than $20,000.

The buildings were occupied by the following: The W.H. SMYTHE building by his dry goods store, while upstairs was The LEADER Newspaper plant and the office of E.H. STORIE, Justice of the Peace. MR. SMYTHE saved a large part of his stock. MR. GITTINGER saved his account books and subscription list; all the presses, machinery and type were destroyed.

The three buildings adjoining, owned by J.J. SMYTHE, were occupied, down stairs, from west to east, by the loan office of MR. SMYTHE, J.C. FLATT's Candy Kitchen, and A.L. SWIFT's Restaurant. J.D. RAPER, Jeweler, occupied part of the SMYTHE office room. Over FLATT'S Store were the offices of VEIRS BROS., Real Estate Agents and the living rooms of MRS. N. DELAY and her daughter, MRS. BRANHAM. Over SWIFT's Restaurant were the offices of CULBERTSON & WILLIAMSON, Real Estate and Insurance Agents, W.B.E. LUSK's Office, and MR. and MRS. SWIFT's living rooms.

MR. FLATT saved a considerable part of his property but lost his elegant new made water fountain. MR. RAPER saved nearly all his stock. Everything in SWIFT's Restaurant burned and nothing was saved from any of the rooms above these stores.

The double brick block owned by L.F. MAPLE and J.A. BROWN was occupied, downstairs, by ENGEBRETSEN & MANNING's Drug and Book Store, C.E. HOBSON, Jeweler, and the Post Office. Up stairs were the law offices of WILL B. BARGER, offices of JENK E. WRIGHT and GOOKIN BROS., Real Estate Agents, and store rooms of PETE T. PATON, Cigar Manufacturer. ENGEBRETSEN & MANNING saved nearly all their show cases and store fixtures and much of their stock, C.E. ROBSON also saved considerable of his stock. GOOKIN BROS., and J.E. WRIGHT lost their office furniture and MR. BARGER was a heavy loser. All of the Post Office boxes and fixtures were burned, but the mail was saved through the work of MR. MAPLE and his clerks assisted by others, and moved to the KUBITSHEK Block. PETE PATON, in the THAYER Building next to the Post Office, was forced to move out. His show cases and store fixtures were saved, as was nearly all his retail stock. He lost heavily in leaf tobacco stored in a wareroom back of his factory.

The losses in detail, are estimated to be as follows:

W.B. SMYTHE, building, $6,000; insurance, $3,000; goods, $10,000; no insurance.

L.F. MAPLE, building, $5,000. Insurance, $2,500; Post Office fixtures, $1,000; no insurance.

J.A. BROWN, building, $5,000; insurance, $3,000.

H.W. GITTINGER, Leader Office, $2,500; insurance, $1,000.

E.H. STORIE, J.P., $60; insured.

VEIRS BROTHERS, $400; insurance, $200.

CULBERTSON & WILLIAMSON, $20; no insurance.

W.B.E. LUSK, $400; insurance, $200.

MRS. DELAY and daughter, $400; no insurance.

ENGEBRETSEN & MANNING, $3,000; insured.

C.E. HOBSON, $400; insured.

W.B. BARGER, $2,600; insurance, $1,000.

P.T. PATON, $1,500; insured.


J.E. WRIGHT, $60; no insurance.

STROUD & BURHAM, Barbers, $850; insured.

J.D. RAPER, $200; insured.

J.C. FLATT, $3,000; insurance, $1,650.

A.L. SWIFT, household goods and restaurant stock and fixtures, $2,700; insurance, $1,500.

The burned-out merchants and others are now located as follows:

W.H. Smythe, in Copeland Building, south side square.

Post Office. In Kubitshek Building, southwest corner square.

Engebretsen & Manning, together with C.E. Hobson and Pete T. Paton, occupy the Blake Building on the north side of the square.

Stroud & Burham, Barbers, are in same building with Herald Office.

J.D. Raper is with Ed Clark, south side square.

Veirs Brothers, up stairs in Ensley Building, west side square.

W.B. Barger, over Dougherty's Drug Store, west side square.

Gookin Brothers and J.E. Wright, with L. Manning in Penick Building.

Culbertson & Williamson, up stairs in Kubitshek Block.

Justice Storie, up stairs in Oppenheimer Building.
(in another column):

The Leader assets consists of money, a big subscription list, a good job patronage and a million dollars worth of good will. And yet with these big assets, people thoughtlessly ask will The Leader continue to be published? To this question we answer, yes.

The editorial fraternity may have (*can't read) and doubtless have but one lack of generosity toward each other and to the public is not one of them. While they may roast each other without mercy, let one of them meet with disaster and they drop all differences and come to his assistance. The presses of The Leader office had not taken their plunge into the firey furnace in the basement before the publishers of the Herald and Patriot tendered us the use of their well equipped printing establishments until we could secure a new equipment.

What would a town be like without its wise guys? They know everything that is worth knowing and what they don't know would make a primmer. They know just what the Mayor should do -- they know just what the Council should do -- and just what the fire fighters should do to stop a conflagration. They know it all. There are no mysteries hidden from them. They foresaw the destruction of The Leader and with all the wisdom at their command solemnly said that we could not resurrect it.

How dear to my heart
Was the old, old s-----------y,
The iron bound s----------y,
The Mahogany stairway
That elevated us to
our sanctum above.

The old stairway is now but ashes, scrap iron, and a fond recollection. How oft have you ascended that old stairway and at each step upward, felt an elevation that did you good and then arrive at the landing and either go into the temple of justice and see Squire Storie fondle with the scales of justice or pass into The Leader sanctum and be revived by the spirit of old fashioned bare footed democracy.


Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
September 20, 2004