Duluth, MN hotel fire, Jan 1893



DULUTH, Jan. 13. - Fire caught in the basement of the St. Louis Hotel this morning and destroyed the building in an hour. Many occupants were compelled to use the fire escapes and ladders of the Fire Department. Men and women, half dressed, climbed down the ladders while the mercury was several degrees below zero. A little child was heared piteously calling for "Papa" through the smoke, and was finally rescued after hard work, half suffocated. There were many narrow escapes. It is almost certain that one life was lost. The loss will reach $100,000.

There was scarcely time to save the books of the hotel office. Nearly all the guests lost their entire effects. The building was an old brick-veneered structure, five stories high, on Michigan street, and 115 by 150 feet in size. It was built in 1883, and was for a long time the only good hotel in the city. It was the property of the Boston Realty Company of Massachusetts, and was insured for $35,000, with rent insurance of $10,000.

Besides the hotel there were the American Express Company and the Omaha Railroad ticket offices in the building. Their loss is total.

Adjoining the St. Louis is the Brighton Hotel, belonging to the same parties, but separated from it by a solid wall. The light court in this building caught fire, but at 1 o'clock it was safe. The damage by water will be large there. An insurance of $85,000, and $15,000 on rents is carried by the Brighton. The insurance on stock is about $30,000, and half of this is a total loss.

The fire was caused either by the explosion of a gas metre in the basement or by some fire in the laundry.

The New York Times, New York, NY 14 Jan 1893

A $50,000 Hotel Fire at Duluth - Other Damage.

DULUTH, Minn., Jan. 13. - The St. Louis hotel burned to the ground today and adjoining property was badly damaged. The fire started in the basement of the St. Louis and was caused probably by a leaky gas meter. The flames spread with great rapidity, and many of the guests had great difficulty in escaping. There were many narrow escapes, and many slightly injured by breaking through windows to reach fire escapes. Several ladies made their escape very lightly clad and suffered severely from cold.

It was reported at first that four or five lives were lost, but later this was contradicted. Late this evening, however, Conductor Shaffer, of the "Soo" line, reports that Brakeman Preston and Baggageman Beaudey, who roomed together at the hotel, are missing and there is little doubt they perished. It is also feared that a scrubwoman, name unknown, perished. The Brighton hotel, next door, and other property in the immediate vicinity, suffered considerable damage from heat and smoke. Losses aggregate about $75,000, of which about $30,000 is on the St. Louis.

The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 14 Jan 1893

Two More Lives Discovered to have Been Lost in the Duluth Fire.

DULUTH, Jan. 17 - Besides E. C. Preston, brakeman, and H. J. Beaudey, baggageman, of the South Shore and Atlantic train, who lost their lives in the burning of the Hotel St. Louis Friday, it is now reasonably certain that at least two other persons perished in the flames. W. T. Rease, who travels for a New York tea house, has been missing ever since the fire. He left his sample cases in the Ideal Restaurant just before the fire broke out. They are still there; no one has called for them. It is thought that Reese must have gone to his room to save what he could, been overcome with smoke, became bewildered and perished. Lizzie Larson, the scrub woman thought to have been burned, is still missing. Chief Horgan of the police department says he has been unable to find any trace of her and is sure she was lost in the fire.

The Aberdeen Daily News, Aberdeen, SD 17 Jan 1893