Ottawa, IL Fire Destroys Ottawa Armory, June 1912

Sunday Night Blaze Costs About $20,000.

STATE IS HEAVY LOSER

THREE SETS OF UNIFORMS FOR SIXTY MEN, 61 RIFLES AND 3,000 ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION AMONG THE CONTENTS BURNED--OTTAWA ARMORY COMPANY LOSES $12,000 ON THE BUILDING AND MILITIA COMPANY LOSES $2,700--FIRE IS SPECTACULAR AND ATTRACTS MANY FROM OTHER CITIES.

Ottawa, Ill., June 24,--(Special)--Ottawa had a spectacular fire last night when the Armory building occupied by Company C of the state militia was completely destroyed. The fire lasted from 8:30 o'clock until midnight and thousands of people lined the banks of the Fox and Illinois rivers to watch it. Many in surrounding towns came in automobiles.

The fire started from some unknown cause in the southeast corner of the building, which was located at the east end of the Fox river bridge along the interurban line. Trolley and other wires were knocked down and there was general confusion.

Loss is $20,000.

The loss is estimated at $20,000 distributed as follows:
Armory Company. . . . . . . . . . . . $12,000
State of Illinois. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5,000
Company C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,000
Utility companies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .306

There was $5,500 insurance on the building and $1,000 on the contents. The state lost three sets of uniforms for sixty men, 61 rifles and 3000 rounds of ammunition. Part of the members of Company C are in camp at Camp Logan near Chicago and the ammunition was to be shipped to them today.

Fire Department Confused.

The fire was discovered by Henry Strohmeyer, father of former Captain Strohmeyer, who turned in the alarm. The fire department became confused in the number and did not arrive for fifteen minutes. When the department arrived it was short of hose.

When the doors were opened the interior was a seething mass of flames. The roof fell in at 9 o'clock and the walls collapsed at 10 o'clock. The fire burned until 12 o'clock.

May Not Be Rebuilt.

The armory may not be rebuilt unless the legislature should make an appropriation. The building was constructed in 1894 when the late Captain Blanchard organized the Ottawa Armory company. It was capitalized at $12,000, all of which went into the construction of the building. It was the purpose to retire $1,000 worth of bonds each year, but the proposition was not a paying one and no bonds have been retired. The company has, however, paid the interest regularly, but is $3,000 in debt.

State Senator H. W. Johnson is president of the company.

Morris Daily Herald 1912-06-24