Dayton, OH Opera House Fire, May 1869

Turner Opera House Ruins


Dayton, May 16, 1869.
At one o'clock this morning Turner's Opera House, in this city took fire and was entirely destroyed. The building was occupied by McKEE, WOODWARD & WEEKLY, wholesale grocers; BLACK & FOX, wholesale china and queensware; GROVER & BAKER'S Machine Company, a large restaurant and billiard rooms. Nothing was saved but a few sewing machines. The fine residences east of the Opera House, on First street, of J. SCHWAB, JOEL ESTABROOK and A. KUHERS, were also destroyed. The fire also communicated to the buildings south, on Main street, owned by M. OHMER, which were entirely destroyed, including the large furniture establishment of MR. OHMER and the grocery store of SARDMIER & BROTHER.
HERMAN SARDMIER, of the latter firm, was endeavoring to save some of his goods, when a portion of the wall fell, crushing him to the floor. His brother and several others endeavored to extricate him, but it was impossible. He lived in this condition for a while, when another crash came, burying him in the ruins. His wife and family were present, but no human power could save him. The scene was heartrending. The loss is estimated at between $600,000 and $800,000, and the insurance about $100,000. It is supposed to be the work of an incendiary. The Opera House was one of the finest in the West, and was owned by J. M. and W. M. TURNER, whose whole loss will be about $250,000 over and above an insurance of $48,000.

The New York Herald New York 1869-05-17