Dallas, TX Columbian Club fire, Jul 1930

Columbian Club Fire

Woman Saved From $125,000 Fire Which Destroys Columbian Club

Fire Fighters Driven Out of Alley When Dense Smoke Descends.

Sweeping the same building for the second time in nine months, flames of undetermined origin Monday night exacted damage estimated at $125,000 from the contents and four-story brick building of the Columbian Club, 1112 - 16 South Ervay Street, between St. Louis and Pocahontas, South Dallas.

Four alarms brought nearly all apparatus on the east side of the Trinity River to fight the blaze. Thousands of persons were attracted to the scene by the glare that lighted much of South Dallas.

A woman working on the second floor office of the club when the fire started was rescued from the smoke and flame covered floor by two men who saw the blaze before she did.

A fireman was injured in the blaze by falling glass. R. Syzeisen of No. 3 hook and ladder company, living at 1017 Graham street, was treated for a five-inch laceration on the right hand by Dr. L. B. Hurt at the Emergency Hospital.

R. W. Fuller, fireman of Engine Company No. 9, was injured when he stepped on a nail while fighting the fire on the third floor. He was given antitetanus serum by Dr. Hurt. Fuller resides at 3608 Junius street.

Four Alarms Sounded.

Other buildings in the section were endangered by flying sparks, carried by a strong wind out to the southwest. The same wind and the work of firemen kept the fire from spreading to buildings close to it on the north on Ervay street and to the east on Pocahontas street.

The large crowd was blanketed by dense smoke which hung in the streets on both sides of the buildings. The smoke floated into apartments on all sides of the burning building, causing residents to scurry to the streets, which were jammed on all sides by fire hose and apparatus.

The entire second floor was in flames when fire apparatus arrived, and the fire was rapidly eating its way to the third floor.

Second, third and fourth alarms were surrounded rapidly, and fire fighters were lined on all sides of the burning structure.

Firemen Dare Falling Debris.

An alley between the Columbian Club and the Texas Farm Bureau two-story brick building at 1100 - 6 South Ervay street, from which a dozen firemen were fighting the fire, suddenly turned into a canyon of smoke. Firemen stumbled out and ladders were hoisted to the top of the Farm Bureau Building and a battery of fire hose poured water into the center of the blaze.

Fire lines of hose sent water through windows on the Ervay street side. The water poured into the streets, flooding them.

On the Pocahontas street side, half a dozen fire fighters dared falling debris on the roof of a screened dining room, shooting water into the building at close range.

Great clouds of smoke were swept against the Pocahontas street entrance of the Ervington Hotel Apartments across the street. Pocahontas street was in turn filled with smoke and falling sparks and pieces of burning roof.

Flames Spread Rapidly.

An awning on the Ervay street side of the Ervington caught fire from sparks from the burning club, but was extinguished immediately by firemen.

Fire trucks were lined for several blocks up and down Ervay street, pumping water to the burning structure.

The fire started at 9 p. m. shortly after the supper hour at the club. It sprang up at the rear of the second floor.

It was first noticed by Mrs. Harold C. Kuethe of the Ervington, who was sitting on the Pocahontas street porch of the Ervington.

Mrs. Kuethe shouted to Frank V. Steele, another resident at the Ervington, to turn in the alarm. Mr. Steele ran into the hotel and summoned fire apparatus.

The flames were spreading rapidly, and William R. Hill, resident of the Ervington, and Wilburn Sanders, 19, of Corsicana, visiting Mr. and Mrs. Kuethe at the hotel, walked close to the building to watch.

Woman Warns Other Workers.

Seeing Mrs. Charles Bishop, who manages the club with her husband, at work in her office and apparently unaware of the flames, the two men ran into the burning building.

Mrs. Bishop, engrossed in her work, had not noticed the smoke. The two men told her the building was in flames.

She would not leave the building until she had warned the porter and the chief of the club of the flames. She was led out of the building by the two men.

The large crowd lined all sides of the building, and a dozen traffic officers were kept busy holding the people back when it was feared that the burning walls of the structure might fall.

Officers also were stationed at intersections for several blocks on Ervay north and south of Pocahontas, to route traffic to other streets. A steady stream of automobiles lined the streets, many of them parking for the fire.

Sparks Blown Several Blocks.

Although sparks were swept for several blocks to the southwest of the fire, the only outbreak of flames outside the club was the awning on the Ervington.

The four alarms brought nine engines, four hook and ladder wagons, a salvage truck, a hose wagon and four chiefs to the scene. Half a dozen ambulances also answered the alarm.

Only the walls of the two top floors were left standing. The first floor and the basement were flooded with water. A part of the first floor was burned also.

The building was gutted by flames last October and $25,000 worth of new furnishings, equipment and decorations afterward were placed in the building, said M. I. Freedman, president of the club.

Mr. Freedman estimated the loss to furnishings and equipment at about $50,000 and damage to the building at about $75,000. The loss is covered by insurance, he said.

The building was built about twenty-five years ago, but has been remodeled periodically, said Henry S. Miller, secretary. It has been the Columbian Club for the last twenty years.

Expanded and redecorated after the fire in October, the four-story club building was reopened the night of Dec. 31 at a gala New Year's Eve ball. The renovation included the extension of a sun porch and its division into a number of private dining rooms and the ballroom was refinished in an elaborate ivory effect.

Officers of the club, besides Mr. Freedman and Mr. Miller, are Herbert Mallinson, vice president, and Henry S. Jacobus, financial secretary.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 15 Jul 1930
Columbian Club Makes Plans for Future Building

Future building plans of the Columbian Club membership will hinge on final reports of the loss sustained by the organization when headquarters burned at 1114 South Ervay street Monday night, members of the board of directors decided at a meeting Tuesday at Sanger Bros. Cafe, with President M. I. Freedman in charge.

Several propositions are confronting the club now, mainly whether the remains of the old building shall be repaired, a new structure erected there, or a different site selected for another clubhouse, and the decision will be made shortly, Mr. Freedman said.

Meanwhile several clubs over the city and private property owners have tendered buildings and facilities for temporary use of Columbian Club members until they have made definite plans for their own social center.

At the meeting Tuesday two committees were appointed, one to work with fire insurance companies to adjust the loss and another to investigate temporary facilities to be used while a new club is being built.

Members of the insurance adjustment committee are Chairman Henry S. Miller, Gus Roos and Henry S. Jacobus, and they have been given full power to arrange settlement. Eli Sanger was appointed chairman of the other committee, with Rudolps Liebman and Jake Landau and fellow-members to investigate temporary places to use while deciding on permanent headquarters.

Mr. Freedman estimated losses to be about $125,000, with ample insurance to cover it. Agter [sic] examining the ruinsTuesday he declared that practically every bit of new furniture and equipment recently placed in the club was destroyed, including costly rugs, chairs and lounges, and a fine oak floor.

After losses have been determined a new building committee will be appointed and progress started on the new home, wherever it may be decided to place it. There is some talk of securing quarters where the club will adjoin a golf course and other recreation facilities, but this is still in the rumor stage.

Another meeting of the board of directors will be held at sanger Bros., Wednesday noon. In addition to the committee members appointed, other members of the board attending were Herbert Mallinson and H. H. Landauer.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 16 Jul 1930
The South Ervay street home of the Columbian Club, ruined by fire, has not been replaced. The organization plans to acquire a place in the country and develop a country club. A golf course, swimming pool, tennis court and facilities for other outdoor sports would be provided.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 19 Nov 1930


Columbia Club

Was tracing family history. A bygone cousin, Harry Kahler, bought the Columbia Club in 1906, first built in 1905, apparently to inject and double the value from 10.000 to 25.000 dollars, when it was new and to financially assist the club. Wow. Thanks.