Atlantic City, NJ Business Sections Burn, Apr 1902

Atlantic City NJ  Young's Pier Burned.jpg Atlantic City NJ Fire of 1902 Hotel Windsor.jpg Atlantic City NJ Fire of 1902 Hotel Traymore.jpg Atlantic City NJ Fire of 1902 Hotel Luray.jpg





Atlantic City, N. J., April 4 -- Twelve hotels and more than a score of small buildings adjoining the boardwalk, which is built along the ocean edge, were destroyed yesterday by a fire which swept the beach front for two long blocks, from Illinois avenue to New York avenue. The loss it is believed, will exceed $750,000 in this respect the conflagration is the most disastrous that has ever visited this city. The loss will be only partly covered by insurance, as the rate of 5 per cent, charged by insurance companies on property is regarded as almost prohibitive. Fortunately no lives were sacrificed, though probably a dozen persons were slightly injured and burned during the progress of the fire. The origin of the fire is unknown, but is said to have started in either BRADY'S baths or the Tarlton Hotel, which adjoins the baths at Illinois avenue and the boardwalk. The city last night was guarded by a company of militia, who were requested by the municipal authorities to aid the police in the prevention of looting. About a dozen men were arrested during the day for robbery.
The hotels destroyed are The Luray and annex, the New Holland, Stratford, Berkley, Bryn Mawr, Stickney, Evard, Rio Grande, Mervine, Academy Hotel and Academy of Music, Windsor (partly destroyed) and Tarlton. CHARLES KEELER, who conducted a drug store on the boardwalk at Kentucky avenue, estimates his loss at $60,000, and VICTOR FREISINGER, proprietor of an art store, $50,000. Other victims whose losses range from $5,000 to $10,000 are HAINES, florist; SHIMAMURA & Co., Japanese novelties; CHING HOP HING, Chinese novelties; JOHN H. FLETT, art store; PARTRIDGE & RICHARDSON, millinery and dry goods; Women's Exchange; E. R. QUINN, hair dresser; M. MOYER & Bro. jewelry; and RICHARD BINDER, barber.
In addition to the foregoing there were numerous other smaller booths and several cottages on minor thoroughfares in the rear of the boardwalk which were either partially or entirely destroyed.
The fire was discovered shortly after 9 o'clock yesterday morning, and for nearly five hours the flames raged with such violence as to threaten the city with destruction. All of the burned buildings were frame structures and the flames fanned by a strong southwest wind, swept along the beach front with amazing rapidity. The Tarlton hotel was soon a pile of smouldering debris, and the flames fed on the small stores and booths between Illinois and Kentucky avenues until they reached the Stratford hotel, which was soon enveloped. The fiery tongues leaped to the Berkley, adjoining, and in a few minutes the New Holland, the Bryn Mawr, the Evard and the Stickney, all located on Kentucky avenue, near the beach, were doomed. The local fire department worked well and willingly, but was unable to cope with the flames, and it was found necessary to send to Philadelphia and Camden for aid. The former city sent three engines and two came down from Camden. It was not until an hour after their arrival that the fire could be said to be thoroughly under control.
Just as the special train bearing the Philadelphia firemen arrived a burning brand set fire in the centre of Young's Pier, near Tennessee avenue. Meantime the flames had communicated with the Rio Grande, the Mervine and the Academy hotes and the Academy of Music, at the corner of New York avenue and the beach. For a few minutes Young's Pier burned fiercely, but the firemen succeeded in confining the flames to Marine Hall, which is situated in the centre of the pier. This structure was entirely destroyed, bisecting the pier.
During the progress of the fire the wildest excitement prevailed among the guests of the hotels which later became a prey to the flames. With the exception of the Tarlton and the Bryn Mawr, all of the hosteliries were open for the season, and most of them were fairly well filled. In most cases the guests had sufficient time to pack their trunks and grips, and those who did not do this carried their personal effects to places of safety in the best manner possible under the circumstances. The beach appeared to be the most suitable depository, and many nondescript heaps of clothing, bedding and furniture appeared on the sand. This rendered extra vigilance necessary on the part of the police. The members of the volunteer fire department acted as special policeman, and Company L National Guard of New Jersey, was called into requisition to preserve order.
Strenuous efforts were made by the firemen to prevent the destruction of the Windsor Hotel, which was the last to take fire. The wind had been favorable to the firemen, but the wing of the Windsor nearest the blazing structures began to burn, and in the couse of a half hour had been consumed. The flames, however, were confined to this section of the building, though the main portion of the hotel is badly damaged by smoke and water.
Nothing is left of the boardwalk from Illinois avenue to a point within a few feet of Young's Pier but the iron supports. This is the portion of the walk that is mostly used by promenaders. The Dunlop hotel and the Bleak House, massive brick structures at Tennessee avenue and the beach, were in grave danger when the conflagration was at its height. The employes of both houses played streams of water upon the buildings from all sides, and in this way doubtless prevented the further spread of the flames.

News Frederick Maryland 1902-04-04