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Baudette and Spooner, MN - Great Fire of 1910

Minnesota Historic Sites and Markers: Great Fire of 1910 Marker Text

Northern Minnesota forests were tinder dry during the fall of 1910. Marshes and streams shriveled. Small fires smoldered here and there in the peat bogs and underbrush.
On October 4 a forest fire consumed the communities of Williams, Cedar Spur, and Graceton. The flames, fed by loggers' slashings, crackled onward and three days later completely destroyed all the buildings in the little town of Pitt except the depot.
The fire approached Baudette and Spooner on the evening of October 7. As the towns rapidly became furnaces of flames; citizens gathered at the depot for safety. Victims of a typhoid epidemic were evacuated by train before a whirlwind of flame swept away the two towns and the bridge over the Baudette River that connected them.
Before morning almost everything at Baudette was leveled, leaving what one survivor called "a desolate plain" covered by charred ruins. Only the sawmill at Spooner remained standing.
Forty-two persons lost their lives in the Great Fire of 1910. About 300,000 acres were burned in ten townships, including much valuable timber and many homesteads and livestock.

Comments

1910 fire death toll

I am researching the 1910 fire as the 100th anniversary of the tragedy is coming up in the new year. However, having read several accounts so far, the number of dead is all over the map. Some say 29, others say 42, 43 and 52. I wonder if there is any way to confirm a correct number.



article | by Dr. Radut