Ames, IA Iowa State College Main Building Fire, Dec 1900

Asleep in the dormitory when the fire broke out were 250 students from all over the state, entirely unaware of the danger threatening them. The ringing, clanging bell did not make known the horror to many students, so often has the bell clanged out its wild alarm when some football victory was heralded, or when belated students, returning from surreptitious visits down town, decided to play a prank and give the sleeping students something to swear and turn over about. So the wild ringing of the bell failed to arouse the sleeping pupils, and the appearance of the fierce flames was all that signified the catastrophe. The fire soon swept everything before it, and not waiting to grab their belongings or do more than hurriedly dress themselves the students sped for safety.

By 6 o’clock, the damage was all done and morning light revealed the scene of destruction. Almost the entire rear section of the north wall of the building had crumpled and fallen to the ground. The north wing was completely gutted and portions of the roof lay smouldering [sic] in the burned basement. The front wall of the building, at the fourth floor, had partially crumbled, and only the front tower at the north side of the building stood erect and tottered defiance to the fire king. Great clouds of steam and smoke poured from the ruins like a geyser in full action. The adjacent campus was crowded with startled students and with the crowds of the curious who swarmed through the rapid [illegible] speeding motor and hurried to the college from the town.

Daily Iowa State Press, Iowa City, IA 10 Dec 1900