Stanley, WI Broughton Hall fire, Jan 1922

Early Morning Fire Destroys Land Mark

40 Below Zero Weather Brings Destruction to Broughton Hall.

Fire, which started shortly after 4 o'clock Tuesday morning, with the thermometer registering about 40 below zero, completely destroyed Broughton's Hall, First Avenue and Emery Street, wiping out one of the best known land marks in Stanley and consuming the regalia and other paraphernailia of all lodges of the city with the exception of the Masonic order.

The building was a two-story frame structure built by Math Gruber about thirty-five years ago, at which time it was considered a building of no small pretensions. It was here that the city's pioneer social and civic life was centered and for many years it had been the home of the city's lodges. Since the destruction of the opera house, adjoining Broughton's hall, by fire on May 19, 1920, the hall has been about the only public meeting place the city has had aside from the Star Theatre, City Hall and the high school, none of which can accomodate a crowd of more than 250 to 300 people.

The building contained a store room, pool hall and living rooms on the ground floor, while the second floor contained a large hall, dining room and kitchen. Mr. Broughton conducted a confectionery store and pool room and used a portion of the main floor of the building for a cream storage room, being the Stanley representative for the Fairmount Creamery Co. of Green Bay.

The fire, when discovered by Earl Moore, operator at the depot, had gained such headway that fire-fighting apparatus was of little avail and had adjoining property been threatened, efforts of the fire-fighters might have been futile, as the electric current had blown a fuse plug, cutting off the juice to the motor at the city's pumping station. It was several hours before the damage was found and repaired and the service resumed. The fact that no wind was blowing at the time probably prevented what might have been a real catastrophe, as the spread of fire undoubtedly could not have been checked without a good supply of water, which would be impossible without the use of the pump, which at present is operated only by electric motor.

The fire is thought to have been started by sparks from the range in the upstairs kitchen. Mr. Broughton stated to a representative of The Republican that he filled the stove with soft coal about 10:30 o'clock, following a lodge meeting, to prevent the water pipes from freezing, as has been his custom during cold weather, but he said he was sure that the draft was closed before he left the building. He also filled the heating pant in the basement with fuel, but he is certain the origin of the fire was not in the basement, because of the fact that the roof and upper portion of the building was completely enveloped in flames when discovered. This would indicate that the flames had not eaten their way upwards.

Stanley Republican, Stanley, WI 27 Jan 1922