Rochester, NY Hotel And Opera House Fire, Feb 1891



Rochester, N. Y., Feb. 19. -- The Grand Opera House, a variety theatre owned by ex-Secretary of State FREDERICK COOK and JACOB DARLING and managed by JOHN D. HOPKINS, and the Windsor Hotel were destroyed by fire this morning. An explosion in the Opera House was the cause of the fire. It occurred about 4 o'clock. In a few moments the building was in flames from top to bottom. The stage hangings and scenery were highly inflammable and were soon destroyed, and then the body of the house commenced to burn. Soon the gallery and balcony fell, then the roof came down, and after it a portion of a side wall fell in. The flames then commenced to eat into the Windsor Hotel, which stood next to the theatre, and in a few moments the roof of that building fell in, followed shortly by one of the two front towers.
Below the theatre and on the street level were a number of saloons and a barber's shop. The contents of these places will be a total loss.
The loss of the theatre will be $62,000; insurance, $30,000. Manager TOMPKINS will be a heavy loser. He expended $10,000 in refitting the interior last year. He is at present in New York. The loss on the hotel, which was not occupied, will probably be $10,000; insurance unknown. It is not known what loss the saloonkeepers will sustain. The WILLIAMS & ORR specialty company, which was playing at the Opera House, loses all its equipments. MISS WILMUTH, a serio-comic vocalist, loses $900 worth of dresses.
Treasurer GUMPERTZ of the Opera House says the only way he can account for the explosion was that the gas from the furnaces, which were under the stage, ignited in some manner, and the blaze communicated to the scenery, which was directly above the stage.

The New York Times New York 1891-02-20