Sioux City, IA Business District Fire, Dec 1904

Remains of Downtown Fire Remains of Downtown Fire, photo from Post Card of Downtown Fire


Two Sioux City Blocks are In Ashes.


One Person Killed add Two Million Dollars Loss the Result of the Blaze.

Sioux City, Ia., Dec. 24. -- A fire which resulted in the death of one person, a monetary loss roughly estimated at $2,000,000, and the destruction of nearly two entire blocks, started in the basement of the Pelletier department store, located at Fourth and Jackson streets, at 8 o'clock Friday night. The district burned lies in the center of the business portion of the city, and among the buildings were several of the most substantial structures in the city.. In these buildings were located a large number of large stores and several wholesale establishments, and three national banks. The fire started in the basement of the store, but its origin is in doubt.

A large number of Christmas shoppers crowded the Pelletier and other stores, and it was with difficulty that all managed to escape from the burning building. The flames enveloped much of the building before the fire department arrived, and was quite beyond control. For three hours and a half, until they had got beyond range of the large buildings, the flames carried everything in their path. Both the telegraph companies were put out of business by reason of their wires being burned out, and the office of the Western Union was destroyed. Although a great number of telephone circuits were within the district, long distance circuits were later established with outside points. The fire was got under control at 11:30 with the assistance of several outside departments.

In the course of their flight the flames were communicated to a score of other business places located in the buildings to the west of the Toy block. Among these were the following, which were entirely destroyed: The Massachusetts building, occupied by seven large stores, including the Gillette Hardware company; the Pullman hotel; Johnson & Aronson, clothing and furnishings; Orkin Brothers, ladies' furnishings; George Conway, wholesale tobacco and cigars; and the American Express company. Several families lived in the rear of the building. The next building burned was the Commercial block. In this structure were located the City National bank; J. J. Prugh, queensware; Warfield-Pratt-Howell company, wholesale grocers; Peavey & Nash, furniture; Dow Clothing company; Harsted & Halsuth, shoes; Theodore Becker Tailoring company; Walde Hardware company and the Western Union Telegraph company. Leaping across the alley the fire next spread to the smaller buildings facing Fourth street and to the Tribune building, facing Pierce street. These included the Northwestern National bank, Selzer Brothers, wholesale liquors, and Magner & Welsh's saloon.

The Newark Advocate Ohio 1904-12-24