San Francisco, CA Baldwin Hotel Fire, Nov 1898 - Big Blaze



Loss Will Reach One and a Half Million Dollars, With Small Insurance---Two Lives Known to Have Been Lost---A Number Injured and Missing---Numerous Hair-Breadth Escapes---Part That a Hope Played in the Work of Rescue---Many Deeds of Heroism.

San Francisco, Nov. 23.---The Baldwin Hotel, for almost thirty years one of the principal landmarks of San Francisco, is no more. A fire which broke out in the more. A fire which broke out in the east end of the building shortly after 3 o'clock this morning, supposedly in the property room of the Baldwin Theatre, totally destroyed the immense structure, entailing a financial loss of nearly $1,500,000, besides destroying property that no amount of money or science can replace.

The loss of life so far as reported has been miraculously light, but two deaths having occurred so far as known. The list of dead and injured, so far as known, is as follows:


Captain J. L. WHITE, San Francisco, capitalist.
LEWIS MEYERS, Skaguay, Alaska, merchant.


F. P. Noon, St. Louis, Mo.; both ankles broken.
George Huber, San Francisco; cut about body.
Miss Bridget Mitchell, San Francisco; badly bruised.
Fire Marshal Towne; cut about body.


J. M. Leighead, San Francisco; purser steamer City of Sydney.
F. Weatherbee and wife, Haverhill, Mass.
Tace Pryor, St. Louis, Mo.
F. R. Andrews, cashier of cafe. Fred Webster. Two chambermaids.
John Carter, race track judge.
Thomas Berkey and wife, assessor Sacramento county, Cal.

The financial losses are very far-reaching, almost every branch of commercial trade being directly affected. The ground floor of the hotel was divided into a number of large stores and few of their occupants saved anything worth mentioning, the majority reporting total losses. Two of the most handsome cafes in the city were gutted and their stocks destroyed. The Baldwin Theater, the fashionable amusement place of this city, was totally destroyed with the rest of the building, and the "Secret Service" company, headed by William Gilette, now playing an engagement at the theater, lost all its paraphernalia and accouterments. Many of the members of the company lost most of their belongings and trunks containing the official papers of the company were destroyed.

The flames were confined to the Baldwin structure, but much adjoining property was seriously damaged by water and smoke.

The Columbia Theater building on Powell street, on the west side of the Baldwin Theater, suffered considerably, and the basement of the Columbia Theater, another fashionable playhouse, was gutted and much valuable theatrical apparatus destroyed. "The Gay Coney Island" company will lose considerably, and Dr. Freeman, manager of the company, who was a guest at the Baldwin, lost a trunk containing valuable papers and $3,500 in cash. There were upwards of 300 guests in the hotel when the fire was discovered and the scenes which followed beggar description.

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