Hackensack, NJ Armory Fire, Feb 1901

Hackensack NJ  Armory Burned 2.jpg



Hackensack, N. J., Feb. 26. -- The Hackensack Armory, which was also the Opera House, was destroyed by fire tonight, and shortly after midnight the side walls began to tumble in. The building had been Hackensack's pride for a number of years, and when it was sold under foreclosure proceedings a couple of years ago, Company M of the Fourth Regiment was enabled to buy it through the liberality of the residents of the village.
Within an hour tonight the building, which was of brick, with two floors, but more than three stories in height, was swept away. The only property saved consisted of the rifles and the piano which belonged to the company. The scenery in the Opera House and the furnishings were all lost.
Company M held a drill tonight and a dance afterward. There were about seventy-five couples on the floor of the drillroom dancing when the flames started.
The ground floor was used as the drill room and ballroom. The auditorium was on the second floor. The stage was at the east end of the auditorium. The dressing rooms back of the stage were dropped several feet below the auditorium floor and hung down into the drill hall. It was in these dressing rooms the fire started. The cause is not known. There was no one in the auditorium tonight, and the place had been locked up all day.
The first the dancers knew of the fire was when the glass and wood which formed a side wall of the dressing room burst into flames and a great rush of fire and smoke filled the drillroom.
All the women screamed and some fainted. Their escorts hurried them out of the building and then set about saving what they could. The rifles and other equipment which belonged to the State were taken out of the building and a rope was procured, and although the flames were already playing about the piano, the rope was passed about it and the instrument was dragged out.
The firemen arrived within a short time, but could do little or nothing. The only State property destroyed, as far as known, was 1,000 rounds of ammunition, which was stored near the point where the fire broke out, and for which no one cared to risk his life.
The building and its contents are estimated to have been worth $27,000. Company M carried an insurance of $10,000.

The New York Times New York 1901-02-27