Bronxville, NY Gramatan Inn Fire, Apr 1900

Gramatan Inn Destroyed

Guests, Aroused by Fire, Flee From Bronx Hostelry.

Bronxville, N.Y., April 26.-The Gramatan Inn, one of the largest hotels in Westchester county, was burned to the ground early this morning. The fire broke out about 3 o’clock in the annex of the hotel. The origin is not known, but it is thought that a defective electric wire may have caused the blaze. The hotel was a three-story frame structure and contained 125 rooms.

The hotel was owned by W.V. Lawrence of New York City and was situated in Lawrence Park, which is the property of Mr. Lawrence, and in which there are a number of fine residences, some of which are owned by wealthy New Yorkers. The inn stood within 200 feet of the railroad station, and fronted on Portfield Avenue.

The local fire company was soon at work on the flames, but the flames spread so rapidly that all efforts to save the structure were in vain, though the aid of the Tuckahoe, Mount Vernon and Yonkers Firemen and apparatus were secured.

Some of the guests when the alarm was first given formed themselves into a fire brigade to fight the flames. Among them were George W. McAdam, a relative of Justice McAdam, Andrew J. Onderdonk, C.E. Carpenter, President of the Ward-Leonard Electric Company, and William A. Bates, the architect of the Gramatan Inn. These volunteer firemen attached the hose in the hotel to the hydrant and fought the fire for a time, but could not prevent its spread. Other guests, led by C.L. Briggs, the manager of the hotel, went to work to get all the occupants out of the burning building. Two of the servant girls did good work in helping their frightened companions to escape.

Henry Hall, business manager of the Tribune, and Mrs. Hall were guests of the hotel. Their apartments were on the second floor of the main building. Mr. Hall was awakened about 3 o’clock in the morning by hearing someone pounding at the door of another room, and awakening his wife seized some clothing and rushed down to the office. In escaping Mr. Hall sprained his ankle.

There were about fifty guests in the hotel and they all escaped to safety. They were compelled, however, to leave much valuable jewelry and clothing behind. Many of them rushed from the burning structure only half clothed, and some had on only their night dresses. Mrs. A. W. Price, who was one of the guests, was staying at the Windsor Hotel in New York City when it burned and escaped by sliding down a rope. During the height of the excitement a fireman carefully carried out the small pet dog of Mrs. A. Kitz of New York.

A small number of valuable articles which had been dropped by the fleeing guests were picked up by firemen. T.H. McGrath, a fireman from Yonkers, found a box of jewelry said to be worth several thousand dollars. Richard Grant of Tuckahoe found a wallet containing some $4,000, which he returned to its owner. The guests of the inn were:

Mrs. A.W. Price
Mr. and Mrs. George W. McAadam
Three Misses McAdam
William and George McAdam
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J. Onderdonk
Arthur Onderdonk
Miss Gladys Onderdonk
A.N. Burt
J.E. Brush
William A. Bates
Mrs. G.G. Symes
Miss Symes
William Inglis
R.T. Furman
C.E. Carpenter
Mr. and Mrs. H. Hall
Mrs. Perry
S.A. Maxwell and wife
J.H. Hatzel
Mrs. L.B. Starr
Mrs. Butler
Mrs. C.A. Smith
Mrs. Armstrong
Mrs. Tilden Smith
Miss Constance Julier
Major J. L. Robertson, wife and two daughters
Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kitz
Mr. and Mrs. James McCreery and two sons
Mrs. McConnell and son
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Orr Bradley
Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Orton

The loss on the hotel and contents is estimated by A.W. Lawrence, son of the proprietor, at about $200,000.

The New York Times, New York, NY 27 Apr 1900