Marshfield, WI Opera House Fire, Mar 1894

Marshfield WI  Central Avenue 1900's.jpg


At 1 A. M. this morning fire was discovered in the Opera house and quickly the alarm rang through the city awaking from their early slumbers many who but a few hours before had left the building. The fire was discovered in the ladies dressing room over the stage and before the fire department got in position to throw water, the whole upper story was a sheet of flame, which ran along to the stage and down to the main floor and the roof and sides of the building at a rapid rate. BILLY MARBLE'S Theatre Company which was playing an engagement this week, had all their baggage and wardrobe valued at $3,000 packed in their trunks in the dressing rooms and for a few minutes his men, who were among the first to arrive on the scene fought like tigers to save their property which they succeeded in doing with but slight loss. At the main entrance, men succeeded in removing the piano and stage furniture, chairs, etc. Company A's armory was located just under the stage, in the old dining hall portion of the building, where their arms, uniforms, overcoats, knapsacks, 2,000 rounds of ball cartridges, etc., were in lockers. The arms, uniforms, overcoats and nearly all of their equipments were saved, but the Company lost the lockers. While this work was heroically being done, the department had got three streams of water on the burning building, but it being a large wooden structure, burned like tinder and the water had but little effect and it was soon seen that the Opera House was doomed. The department then turned its attention to protecting adjacent buildings, VOLLMAR & VOELKER'S warehouse, C. A. COON'S dwelling occupied by MRS. CHAMBERLAIN and family, the City Hall and the M. E. Church, which they held under full control and withing two hours the Opera House was but a smouldering mass of ruins. The Opera House was built by FRED KORTH and MIKE BAST, in the fall of 1890, at a cost of over $8,000. T. F. VANNEDOM and WILLIAM HIRTH, being the contractors, MR. BAST subsequently transferring his interest to MR. KORTH. The building was 60x120 feet, two stories, tar roof and was intended to be brick veneered at some future day. It had a searing capacity of 1,000, a large stage, well mounted with first class scenery, a furnace for heating and a full system of electric lights. The building was insured in the GEORGE E. INGALLS agency, for $2,750; THEO. SPRINGBORN agency $2,000; and B. W. PULLING agency $2,500. Total, $7,250. The Opera House was Marshfield's pride and only play house and the loss will be sadly felt by our citizens. No intimation of whether MR. KORTH will rebuild can be obtained at this writing, 4 o'clock a.m., as that gentleman is in Wausau. To much credit cannot be bestowed upon Chief BAXTER and his noble band of fire fighters, nor upon the excellent system of water works this city is the proud possessor of. Plenty of water was often thrown through five nozzels and saved the repetition of 1887. The origin of the fire cannot be accounted for.
The BILLY MARBLE Theatre Company will complete the remainder of their week's engagement at the old Armory or City Hall.

The Marshfield Times Wisconsin 1894-03-30