Louisville, KY Jefferson County Court House Fire, Dec 1905

FIRE THREATENED THE COURT HOUSE

JEFFERSON COUNTY BUILDING WAS SAVED BY HEROIC EFFORTS OF FIREMEN - INDICTMENTS AND RECORDS SAVED - DAMAGE $25,000, NO INSURANCE.

(Special to The Herald.)

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Dec. 26. - Fire, resulting in the partial destruction of the Jefferson county court house and the loss of probably $25,000, with no insurance, broke out under the roof of the structure at 1:46 o'clock this afternoon. It is believed the fire originated from the electric wires.

For a time it seemed as if the entire building was doomed to total destruction, but by the almost superhuman work of the Louisville fire department, not only the building was saved, but few, if any, of the hundreds of important records kept in the court house were destroyed.

Fragments of the dome of the rotunda fell and it seemed as if the statue of Henry Clay would undoubtedly be demolished. The right hand of the figure was torn off, but otherwise the valuable historic relic remains intact.

For a time it seemed that the offices of the Circuit Clerk would inevitably be destroyed before the records could be secured, but water was quickly trained on the point and the danger averted. In the rooms are the pleadings and decisions of this court for more than a century and had these documents been burned it is probable that many complications would have arisen later which could not possibly have been arranged. A number of indictments were saved.

Very soon after the alarm was turned in the whole street was lined for blocks with thousands of people, word having been passed that the court house was in flames. It was some time after the fire was discovered from without that those employed in the building learned of their danger. The roofs of many of the buildings in the immediate neighborhood were soon black with people. Two alarms were first turned in, followed by a general alarm.

The Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY 27 Dec 1905