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Chicago, IL Columbia Theater Fire, Mar 1900

Chicago ILL Columbia Theater.jpg

THEATER BURNED.

THE COLUMBIA OF CHICAGO TOTALLY DESTROYED.

LOSSES APPROXIMATE $190,000.

FIRE STARTED IN IROQUOIS LAUNDRY -- A NUMBER OF PERSONS SERIOUSLY INJURED.

Chicago, March 31. -- The Columbia Theater, one of the oldest and most popular playhouses in the city, was destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon, entailing a total loss of $190,000.
The fire was discovered in the laundry of the Iroquois Club, which occupied aparatments on the sixth floor of the building. It is supposed that some hot coals dropped from the stove to the floor. The flames spread with great rapidity, and within fifteen minutes after the discovery of the fire the theater was beyond saving.
Occupants of the building and employes of the theater and club were driven to the street in such haste that in the excitement three women were overcome. Before the fire was extinguished the following were injured:
FRANCIS MILLER.
JOHN BURNS, fireman.
JOHN COURTNEY, policeman.
MARIE ELLIS.
MRS. MARY ROBINSON.
A company owned by Klaw & Erlanger of New York and headed by Rogers Brothers, presenting
"Rogers Brothers in Wall Street," was playing an engagement at the theater.
The fire interrupted the progress of a rehearsal and twenty men and women in costume were driven to the street in haste. They took refuge in a neighboring saloon, while friends went in search of suitable clothing for them.
The early part of the fire was marked with gallant rescues of girls employed in the laundry of the Iroquois Club, where the flames started. Two firemen climbed the fire escape to the Sixth floor and carried two women, who had grown hysterical, to a place of safety. The others were escorted down the stairway through the blinding smoke.
A few minutes after the discovery of the fire the roof of the building fell with a crash, and to many it sounded like a great explosion. The collapse caused a general stampede among the spectators, and in the rush several were slightly bruised. Later, when the cornice of the front of the building fell, several firemen had narrow escapes.
The insurance upon the theater amounts to $100,000, and all other losses are also protected.
The Columbia Theater was built by J. H. Haverly a short time after the Chicago fire, and after it passed from his hands in 1883 it was rechristened the Columbia by Ellen Terry, at the time of her first appearance in Chicago with Mr. Henry Irving. The Iroquois Club, whose home was destroyed, is the largest democratic club in Illinois, and has among its members many of the prominent democrats of Chicago.

Des Moines Daily News Iowa 1900-03-31

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