Madison, WI State Capitol Fire, Feb 1904
FIRE RUINED THE CAPITOL
WISCONSIN'S MAGNIFICENT CAPITOL BUILDING TOTALLY DESTROYED BY FIRE
ONE MILLION DOLLAR LOSS
LOSS IS FIXED AT $1,000,000 EXCLUSIVE OF VALUABLE RELICS BURNED
THERE WAS LITTLE OR NO INSURANCE ON THE BUILDING, THE STATE HAVING CHANGED FROM INSURANCE IN COMPANIES TO A SYSTEM OF STATE INSURANCE - CAPITOL FIGHT EXPECTED.
Madison, Wis., Feb. 27. - Wisconsin's picturesque capitol, the pride of the state for decades, is in ruins. All that remains intact from the devastating flames which started early this morning is the extreme north extension, the contents of which are practically ruined by water. Jagged walls, from which every vestige of inflammable material has been eaten by the fury of the flames, are all that mark what was yesterday the center of Wisconsin's executive life. The loss will be about $1,000,000, exclusive of relics. There was little or no insurance, the state having changed from insurance in companies to a system of state insurance.
GOV. SCHOFIELD maintained insurance on the building throughout his term totaling $600,000, but the last legislature instituted an insurance fund and directed the state's officers to allow the insurance policies to lapse. In June last there lapsed $510,000 and in December the sum of $90,000. There is in the insurance fund at the present time about $6,000 to meet the loss.
One of the most serious losses by the capitol fire was the destruction of the Grand Army room, together with all of the records of the department of Wisconsin and of Lucius Fairchild Post of this city "Old Abe," the famous war eagle, and all of the records, mementos and relics of the civil and Spanish-American wars. Not a shred was saved from the room excepting battle flags. Practically all the valuable state records are believed to be safe. Most of them remain in masonry and steel vaults in the ruins and their safety depends on the extent of the fire proof character of the vaults.
The origin of the fire is now believed to have been a lighted gas jet in a toilet room on the second floor. The flame was close to and ignited a varnished ceiling.
The fire involves the building of a new capitol, a special session of the legislature and the probable renewal of the agitation in favor of the removal of the capitol from Madison to Milwaukee.
The Grand Forks Daily Herald, Grand Forks, ND 28 February 1904