Asbury Park, NJ Opera House Fire, Aug 1900



Asbury Park, N. J., Augu. 12. -- One of the most severe fires ever experienced here started this morning, and before it was out had destroyed the Park Opera House and five cottages. The loss, it is estimated, will amount to about $30,000 to residents of this place. Besides this the fire destroyed all the scenery and other properties of WILLIAM A. BRADY'S "A Stranger in a Strange Land" Company. LEWIS MORRISON'S "Faust" troupe, which was rehearsing in the Opera House, lost most of its effects.
The fire started by the explosion of an oil stove in the cottage of HARRY WALLACE on Emery Street, between Bangs and Summerfield Avenues, and covered most of the block before it was mastered. It created great excitement, as it was feared the flames could not be confined to the block, and that they would spread beyond control. The entire Fire Department was called to othe spot, and the firemen from Ocean Grove lent aid. Fortunately there was little wind blowing at the time, and by heroic work on the part of the firemen the flames were finally gotten under control.
The cottage of the REV. MR. KIDDER was destroyed in the course of the fire, and so repidly did it spread that there was not even time to save the valuable library which the cottage contained. The Gibson House and two cottages adjoining, all belonging to THOMAS GIBSON, went down before the tons of water poured into the fire succeeded in quenching the flames.
The scenery for the "Stranger in a Strange Land" reached the opera house last night, as did the entire lot of trunks of the members of the company. The play was to be put on tomorrow night. Nothing was saved.
The principal losses will fall on JOHN CASSALLE of Newark, owner of the Opera House, which was valued at about $17,000, and who had an insurance to the extent of $2,000.
Among the members of the "Faust" company were CHARLES TAYLOR and wife and GEORGE TRIMBLE and wife. FRANK NORMAN, a member of the "Stranger" company, lost $300 worth of effects. The upper part of the Opera House was tenanted by a number of poor families, and they barely escaped with their lives.
Founder JAMES A. BRADLEY, who this morning worked as hard as any other fireman, has offered the use of Educational Hall to Manager MORRIS of the Opera House to fill the engagements he has made.
During the fire GEORGE HOUGHTON, MILAN ROSS, and CHARLES WARD, members of the Fire Department, were severely injured.
It was by far the worst fire this city has ever seen, and but for the splendid work of the firemen, would have been even more serious than it was.

The New York Times New York 1900-08-13