Minneapolis, MN block fire, Feb 1891



MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 26. - At 1 o'clock this morning fire started in the five-story brick block owned by Sol Smith Russell, the actor, and destroyed his building, besides damaging a four-story brick block owned by J. M. Roberts. The fire caught in the fifth floor of the Lumber Exchange, one of the most magnificant blocks in the country. The building owned by Sol Smith Russell was a beautiful brick structure, and was occupied by the Clare-Speaker Company, dealers in paints and oils. the J. M. Roberts building was occupied on the ground floor by H. B. Gardner, with a stock of hardware.

After a fight of eleven hours, the firemen suceeded in confining the flames to the four upper stories of the Lumber Exchange. The structure looked like a veritable ice palace after the fire. The walls, as high as the hose can throw water, six or seven stories, are covered a foot thick with ice, and the sidewalks against the building are piled from five to eight feet high, formed from the water running down from above. The total loss foots up $162,000, divided as follows: Lumber Exchange, $75,000; insurance, $160,000; Russell Building, $20,000; insurance, $25,000; Robinson Building, $3,000; fully insured. Clare-Speaker Company, stock and paint, $40,000; insurance, $25,000; H. B. Gardner & Co., $4,000; insurance, $10,000. Lumber Exchange tenants, $20,000; insurance, $10,000.

As Sol Smith Russell, the actor, was dining with Thomas Bailey Aldrch at the Players' Club, 16 Gramercy Park, yesterday noon, he received a telegram from his brother that the Russell Building in Fifthy Street, Minneapolis, Minn., had been gutted by fire. Some years ago Mr. Russell changed his home from Boston to Minneapolis, where he had made a business venture. One thing led him into another, and he eventually erected two handsome buildings in that city, one costing $100,000 and the other $40,000. Mr. Russell said last evening, "It's hard work to be funny when a man's just spilled $40,000, but it won't interfere with the 'Poor Relation.' '

The New York Times, New York, NY 21 Feb 1891