Springfield, MO Theater Fire, Jan 1909
BIG FIRE STAMPEDES 200 FROM HOTEL.
THEATER IN SPRINGFIELD, MO., BURNED AND HOTEL DAMAGED.
OPIE REED FORCED TO FLEE.
BLAZE STARTING IN OPERA HOUSE SOON AFTER LECTURE DOES $200,000 DAMAGES --
FIRE STARTED BY LEAKING GAS.
Springfield, Mo. -- One of the most disastrous conflagrations in the history of Springfield, between 1 and 3 o'clock Wednesday morning, destroyed the Baldwin theater building and the Dr. J. H. Dixon building, on St. Louis Street, badly damaging the New Colonial Hotel building and threatening to destroy the entire business district.
The estimated loss is $200,000, with probably $100,000 insurance carried on buildings and contents.
Fire Chief Kanda fell down a stairway, but was uninjured.
Opie Reed, the novelist, was the attraction at the Baldwin Theater Tuesday night. The fire broke out in the theater building an hour after Manager Olendorf had gone home. Opie Reed was one of the guests at the Colonial Hotel, and was forced to flee with the others when it was feared the hostelry could not be saved.
The fire is supposed to have been caused by leaking gas. No one was injured.
A fierce wind carried sparks and burning embers many blocks, and scores of residences caught fire in the roofs. These blazes were extinguished with buckets of water.
All that saved the Colonial Hotel was the fact that the buildings is fireproof. There was a panic among the 200 hotel guests, who rushed from their rooms to the streets carrying their grips and part of their clothes.
The Baldwin Theater, a four-story building, was owned by Col. H. B. McDaniel, and the property was valued at $100,000. The theater was leased by Geo. F. Olendorf, formerly connected with playhouses at St. Joseph.
Little was saved from the burned buildings, as the fire had gained great headway before the fire department could arrive on the scene.
Muldrow Press Oklahoma 1909-01-15