Ardmore, OK Business District Fire, April 1895

Wiped Out By Fire.

Entire Business Portion of Ardmore In Ashes--Loss $810,000

Ardmore I. T., April 19. -- Almost the entire business portion of this city was wiped out by the flames this morning. Yesterday Ardmore could boast of being the largest city in the Indian Territory with more than 150 business houses, among which were many two and three-story brick buildings. Today they are a smoldering mass of ruins, from the stately bricks to the cheap board houses. More than eighty business houses in the heart of the city on Main and South Caddo Streets were wiped out by flames. It is difficult to get a correct estimate of the losses, which are variously estimated at from $500,000 to $800,000, but the later figures are probably nearer correct.

When the alarm was given at 1 o'clock this morning, it was discovered that the large livery barn of Harper & Cecil was in flames, which spread so rapidly by the frame buildings on either side tat all efforts toward saving them were useless. All business houses on Caddo street were soon in ashes and the flames spread to Main street. Two large brick national bank buildings and three other business houses on Main street east of Caddo and the post-office is the only business portion of the city saved. The city has no fire company or water-works, but the whole male population turned out and fought the fire as long as there was hope of saving anything.

The large Federal court building and jail were destroyed. Eighty prisoners confined in the latter were removed to the Baptist church beyond the danger line and placed under heavy guard.

Twenty-six livery horses were roasted alive in Harper & Cecil's stables, and a man named Neu, a stranger, who was permitted to sleep in the barn, was so badly burned that he cannot recovered.

The cause of the fire is not known, there being various rumors as to its origin, but it is undoubtedly incendiary. The estimated losses and insurance are:

Ramsey & Ross, drugs, $5,000; insurance on stock $3,000. Noble Bros., wholesale grocers, stock valued at $30,000; insurance, $12,000. J. B. Spraggins & Co., hardware, $35,000; insurance, $16,000. C. A. Whitehurst, general merchandise, $6,000, insurance, $3,000. W. O. Duston, dry goods, $35,000; insurance, $25.000. Dr. Garrison, drugs, $6,000; insurance, $3,000. Masonic Temple, $9,000; insurance, $6,400. Williams & Pennington, buildings, $8,600; insurance. $5,500. Williams & Bros., hardware, $15,000; Insurance $6,000; Hyden & Jackson, general merchandise, $10,000; insurance, $4,000. Palace Drug store, $3,000; insurance, $1,500. N. Coleman, drugs, $3,500; insurance, $2500. D. F. Whittington general merchandise, $30,000; insurance, $10,000. Harper & Cecil, livery stable, $6,000; insurance, $1,000. A. J. Kleskle, general merchandise, $20,000; insurance, $12,000. R. H. Hardy, building, $8,000; insurance, $6,000. Riner & Scrivally, $15,000; insurance, $9,000. Frank Green & Co., $12,000; insurance, $9,000. Randali & Co., general merchandise, $15,000; insurance, $9,000. Fielder Bros. grocers, $12,000; insurance $7,500. Kearney & Wyse, $12,000; insurance, $3,500. M. E. Wyse, $6,000; insurance, $3,000.

No accurate estimate can be given of the many small establishments destroyed, nearly all of which were an entire loss to the owners. Work will commence at once on new buildings in the burnt district, and much more substantial stone and brick buildings will soon take the place of those destroyed by fire.

Kansas City Times, Kansas City, MO 20 Apr 1895