Detroit, MI Fire, Jan 1842


Early on the night of January 1, 1842, a fire broke out in the New York & Ohio House, situated on Woodward Avenue, midway between Jefferson Avenue and Woodbridge Street, and swept away the entire ‘block bounded by Woodward and Jefferson Avenues, Griswold and Woodbridge Streets.

"It was a fire, as was a fire,” and tried the mettle of our volunteer firemen to the utmost, as no fire that ever preceded it had done. The night was mild but windy, with the wind from the south; no snow or rain had fallen for quite a while. We were in the midst of a January thaw. All things conspired to give the flames a good time and they had it. Aided by the high wind, they came near crossing Woodward Avenue and would have done so, perhaps, had it not been for the gallant efforts of our brave firemen. The foremen of No. 2 and No. 4 engine companies, aided by their assistants, ran lines of hose to the top of of [sic] J. L. King’s store, on the corner of Woodward and Jefferson Avenues, and there, protected by a high wooden balustrade, were enabled to keep the fire brands and sparks from getting a foothold on the roof of King’s store, as well as on the brick building adjoining, occupied by McArthur & Hulbert.

The Bank of Michigan building on Griswold Street had all the plate glass in its windows so badly cracked that they had to he replaced by ordinary glass. The plate glass had been imported from France and was the first of its kind to appear in the state.

The panes were not very large, to be sure, only eight by ten, but then they were plate glass, nevertheless. The destroyed buildings along Jefferson Avenue were speedily replaced by others of brick.

In addition to Hallock & Raymond’s clothing store, Warren’s candy and confectionery place, the Howard restaurant, and Geo. Dawson’s, the Detroit Advertiser, the following firms and concerns were wiped out: A. C. McGraw, boots and shoes; G. & J. G. Hill, drugs; Nelson, groceries; Gardner & Mather, crockery; Edward Bingham, drugs; Salisbury, grocer, and the United States customs offices. Our engine, No. 4, was stationed that night at the reservoir, corner of Jefferson and Woodward Avenues (the Merrill Block corner).

Early days in Detroit : papers By 1906 Friend Palmer, pages 343-344