Springfield, IL Fire, May 1855

The Fire in Springfield.

From the Springfield (Ill.) Journal.

The sun this morning rose upon a scene in Springfield the like of which has never been witnessed here. More than half the block of stores on the west side of the square, commencing from the north, was in ruins, and the goods and furniture not destroyed were scattered about mostly on the State-House-square, presenting further evidence of the melancholy catastrophe. The great destruction was, without question, the work of an incendiary. The fire was kindled among the some boxes near one of the buildings, and such was the dry state of all the materials about that the buildings immediately caught fire, which was not arrested until nine stores and one or two buildings of less consequence were destroyed. The following is a list of the sufferers:

Clark & Henkle, clothing store, insured for $5,000 in Northwestern and $1,000 in Mohawk Valley. Loss estimated at $6,000. House owned by Johnson & Bradford, insured for $1,500. Griffin’s boot and shoe shop, over Clark & Henkle’s-stock mostly saved; loss probably $100. Mulquinn’s tailor shop, over Clark & Henkle’s-stock mostly saved’ loss estimated at $50. Thayer Co., dry goods merchants-stock of goods valued at $17,000; insured for $8,000-saved goods in amount of $10,000 or $12,000; in bad order. Canedy & Johnson,. Druggists, insured on stock and fixtures $6,500, on house $2,500-loss estimated at $9,000. Spear & Brother, dry goods merchants, insured $3,000 on goods, no insurance on house. Loss about $4,000. R.H. Beach’s clothing store, insured $5,000. Loss about $2,000. Irwin & Davis, dry goods merchants, insured on goods $5,000, no insurance on house. Loss estimated at $6,000. A. Freeman & Co., dry goods and grocery merchants, no insurance either on house or goods. Loss estimated at $8,000. Dr. Harp’s office, Primm’s Law office, and a barber shop over Freeman’s, (books, papers, & c., mostly saved.) Loss estimated at $200. Springfield Coffee-House, closed, owned by William H. Camp, no insurance. Loss about $2,000. Bradford & Johnson’s book store, bindery, & c., house owned by N.W. Edwards, insured for $700. Bradford & Johnson had insured on stock $3,500; loss about $1,800. P.C. Canedy’s dwelling house saved by the most preserving efforts; back buildings with the west torn down. House and furniture, which are considerably damaged, insured. Clark’s Exchange Bank, which was fire proof, arrested the fire on the south, but for which, the whole block on the west side of the square would have been laid in ashes.

The progress of the fire, as it was going west, was arrested at Mr. Canedy’s dwelling house. S.B. Fisher’s store, on the north side of the square, while the fire was raging, was discovered to be on fire in the second story. It was soon extinguished, doing but little damage.

The present is a very appropriate occasion to draw the attention of our city authorities to the necessity of providing more efficient means than they have yet done for the extinguishment of fires.

The New York Times, New York, NY 19 May 1855


Large Fire in Springfield, Ill.

Chicago, Saturday, May 12. A most destructive fire occurred at Springfield, Ill., this morning, consuming the best business portion of the city. On State-House square line of the finest stores were burned to the ground. The loss, which is put down at $150,000, is mostly covered by insurance. The streets are filled with goods, and general consternation prevails. The fire is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary.

The New York Times, New York, NY 14 May 1855


Fire At Springfield, Illinois - Springfield, May 12,-A fire was discovered on the west end of the State House Square, last night about one o’clock. With no fire apparatus, or organization of any kind, nothing could be done to arrest the progress of the flames and some of the best stores were burned to the ground. The loss cannot be less $150,000-mostly covered by insurance it is supposed. It is thought to have been the work of an incendiary, and no little consternation prevails.

The following are the principal sufferers:-Messrs. Clark & Henkle, clothing store; Johnson & Bradford, booksellers and stationers. Thayer & Son, merchants; Connelly & Johnson, druggists; Van Deasen, druggist; Speers & Brother, merchants, Beach, clothier; Irwin & Davis, Freemans, merchants; Springfield Coffee House, and several smaller tenements.

The fire was first discovered in the rear of Clark & Henkle’s clothing store.

North American And United States Gazette, Philadelphia, PA 19 May 1855