Liberty, TX fire, Apr 1909



Special to The News.

Liberty, Tex., April 22. - The old historic town of Liberty that has withstood the ravages of fire and storm has for the third time in the same section of the city been visited with a terrible fire at 12 a. m. sharp. The total loss is about $25,000, partly insured. Due to the fact that the buildings burned were all of wood and dry as tinder from the extended drouth of the last season, it was only a question of a few minutes until the entire row of stores was a roaring furnace.

All efforts of the fire-fighting forces were directed to saving the postoffice building and preventing the fire from sweeping across Main street and the north side of the court house square, with its many valuable buildings, as it had just done on the east side.

Only the shifting of the wind for something like fifteen minutes and the superhuman efforts of the fighters was this block saved.

Several people were more or less injured or overcome. Among those were L. P. Dehat, who, losing his balance, fell from the roof of the two-story store building of R. M. O'Brien. J. D. Shine, a clerk for Mr. Lipstet, was overcome by smoke and heat. To the other side of the store of G. A. Wood was a drug store owned and operated by C.F. Stevenoff. He carried no insurance either on his stock or building. Mr. Stevenoff's loss on stock was not exceeding $150, as everything was carried to safety.

Another vacant store building belonging to L. G. Guerton was destroyed.

There were several vacant store buildings on the north side of the square, to which the remaining of the various stocks were taken, where their business will be conducted in the future unitl buildings can be erected on the burned district.

The fire is said to have been discovered in the gents' furnishing establishment in the Ager Building. This was operated under the name of R. C. Wood and by G. A. Woods, assisted by his brother-in-law, Robert McAlbin. Mr. Wood moved here recently from Navasota. The families of S. Goldstein and L. Lipstet, living in the second floor of Mr. Goldstein's building, which adjoined that of Mr. Wood, had a narrow escape from a fiery grave, escaping with only their night clothes. Mr. Goldstein had recently sold his entire stock of merchandise preparatory to moving to New York City to Mr. Lipstet, formerly a merchant of this city, but more recently of Houston. Mr. Lipstet' entire stock of nearly $12,000, with the exception of a small amount of salvage, was an entire loss. Insurance on stock $6,000 and building $2,500. Each lost about $500 worth of household furniture, uninsured. Next in line was the Masonic Building, occupied on the ground floor by J. L. Ellis, who carried an exclusive line of groceries and feed. On a stock of $4,000 he carried $1,500 insurance. The floor above was used by the Masonic lodge. They lost everything, including their charter, dated 1848, being one of the pioneer organizations. They carried insurance to the amount of $900. Building valued at $2,000. From here the fire jumped across the streeet to the two-story building of H. O. Ager, on the lower floor of which he carried a $3,000 stock of drugs with $1,500 insurance. The upper floor was occupied by the law offices of Stevens & Pickett with valuable law libraries. Their loss will not exceed $250, covered by insurance, the greater portion of their books being saved by willing hands, the loss sustained in most part on their office furniture. In the rear of the Ager Building stood a two-story residence of Mrs. J. D. Webber of La Porte and occupied by S. A. Deblane. The building was an entire loss, valued at $1,500; no insurance.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 23 Apr 1909