Delavan, WI Deaf and Dumb Institute Fire, Sept 1879

Deaf and Dumb Institute Burned.

MILWAUKEE, Wis., Sept 16.-At half-past eight o'clock this morning a fire broke out in the ceiling of the upper dormitory, just under the central dome, of the main building of the Deaf and Dumb Institute of Delavan, Wis., and the eastern part of the building was destroyed. All the pupils escaped with their baggage. The origin of the fire is unknown. The loss is $100,000, upon which there is no insurance.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA 17 Sept 1879


Total Destruction of the Wisconsin State Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Delavan.

All the Children Rescued from the Burning Building-Terror of the Little Ones.


Special Telegram to the Inter Ocean.

DELAVAN, Wis., Sept. 16.-The beautiful buildings of the State Institution for the Deaf and Dumb are in ruins. The buildings and the wings, together with the engine house, kitchen, and laundry buildings were burned this morning. The fire was discovered in the cupola of the main building about 8:30 o'clock. It spread rapidly, and soon enveloped the roof and run down the winding stairs to the first floor, thus setting fire to all parts of the main building. The fire company come out with their Babcock engine and worked like herots, but the fire was so high that the hose would not reach it. The building was full of children. There were 147 in attendance yesterday, besides the employes. They were all gotten out of the building safe, and none were hurt. The sight of the poor unfortunates as they ran in terror from the building, crying in their painful way and wringing their hands, was enough to move the stoutest heart. They have been kindly cared for by the warm-hearted citizens, and are all safely housed now.

The heat was intense at times, and the roaring and leaping of the flames terrible. The burning buildings were seen for miles, and people came from long distances to see the fire.

The Trustees and Governor were promptly notified, and were on the ground as soon as possible. GOVERNOR SMITH arrived at 3:40 p. m., and is giving his personal attention to the work of carrying forward the interests of the State. The Trustees had a meeting on the institute grounds this afternoon and have determined to go on with the school. A number of large residences on Asylum Hill will be thrown open to accommodate the pupils, and the shops and various outhouses on the institute grounds utilized for school purposes. The walls of the west wing are not much injured, and can be used in a new building. The loss is $110,000; no insurance.

The Inter Ocean, Chicago, IL 17 Sept 1879