Jacksonville, FL Fire, May 1901 - Another Account of the Fire

As the viaduct, leading over the marshes of Hogan’s Creek to East Jacksonville, was reached it was plain that the limit of the progress of the flames westward had been reached. The hope of the people grew strong that the worst was over. But as far as the damage from the fire was concerned, the worst was yet to come. Just as the material for the conflagration was apparently consumed a shift in the wind sent a roaring sea of flame southward toward the river. Then it began to dawn on the minds of the unfortunates who had fled to the riverside that they were in danger of being cut off and suffocated. A rush was made for the South Jacksonville Ferry, and hundreds sought refuge on the other shore.

Fireworks To Windward.

Then came the most thrilling scene of the entire day. The flames caught the freight warehouses of th4e Atlantic, Valdosta and Western Railroad, and began from there its backward march in the eye of the wind.

Slowly but surely it ate its way against the wind, taking either side of Bay street, until it reached Jones’s Boat Yard. The wholesale grocery store of F. & H. Dowling Company, Muller & Co., and dozens of smaller concerns were wiped out.

While the flames failed to cross the open space known as Jones’s Boatyard a new danger threatened. The flames swept down in the rear of the United States Hotel, and that, with the Law Exchange, was doomed. Meantime the county courthouse caught fire and another splendid edifice was soon a wreck.

From the United States Hotel the flames again jumped across the street and the line of march was taken up again, only to be checked when the last building between McCoy and Hogan’s Creeks had been destroyed.

Some Of The Houses Destroyed.

Among the houses that had succumbed to the flames on Bay Street were the Mohawk Building, the Gardiner Block, Furchgott’s mammoth dry goods house; Benedict & Pollak’s wholesale dry goods; the Christie drug company, McAllister wholesale liquors; Cohen brothers, dry goods; R.L. Harrison, dry goods; Iseman & Skinner, wholesale grocers; I.E. Baird, paints; W.A. Bourse, hay and grain; F.M. Dowling, wholesale grocer; Clausson, wholesale grocer; Florida Hardware Company, E.F. Clark’s furniture house, Henry Clark, carpets; D.E. Cooper, furniture; Fettings & Reichard, furniture; Harkisheimer, grocer; estate of McNery, grocers, wholesale; Coleman, tailor; half a dozen drug stores, retail grocery, millinery, and other stores; Summer wholesale butter and cheese store.

The hotels destroyed include the Windsor, St. James, Placides, United States, Girard, Glenada, and Oxford.

The New York Times, New York, NY 4 May 1901