North Adams, MA Business District Fire, July 1912

North Adams MASS Wilson House fire 7-2-1912.jpg North Adams MASS Wilson Hotel before fire.jpg


North Adams, July 2. -- One of the most disastrous fires that ever visited North Adams destroyed a large prt of the heart of the business section early today causing an estimated loss of $600,000. The Empire Theatre, Wilson's Hotel, the Empire apartment house and Sullivan Brothers furniture building were destroyed.
Incendiarism is believed to have been the cause of the blaze and the police officials immediately began
an investigation on this theory. Starting in the kitchen of Wilson's Hotel the fire made rapid progress.
The flames jumped from the lower part of the hotel to the upper stories and there was a frantic rush of hotel guests to places of safety. When the fire was discovered there were more than 100 men and women asleep in the hotel. Nearly all the occupants lost their clothing and personal effects as the smoke made delay dangerous.
The heed paid to the danger warning averted serious accident and with few exceptions the hotel guests were able to reach the outside unassisted.
WALTER H. DOWNS, an aged man, was asleep in one of the upper rooms in the hotel and was overcome by smoke. Firemen groped their way through the smoke filled passageways and brought him safely outside the burning building.
From the hotel the flames spread to the Empire apartment house, a four story brick structure. This building was burned despite the efforts of the fire fighters. The Empire Theatre, close by, next became a prey of the flames and was a total loss.
The theatre had a seating capacity of 1400. Sullivan Brothers furniture store and warehouse located in a seven story building was completely destroyed, as were a small wooden building situated close by and a stable.
Occupants of lower floors in the Sullivan building lost considerable property. Tuttle and Bryant, dry goods dealers, suffered damage amounting to $90,000. Sullivan Brothers were the principal losers in the fire and their loss is partially covered by insurance.

Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1912-07-02