BURNED TO THE GROUND
JULY 13, 1925
July 14, 1925
The fire that destroyed Ostrander's business district on July 13, 1925
changed the face of the small village forever.
SEMI-WEEKLY GAZETTE, JULY 14, 1925
Fire believed to have originated in the Truman Lowe restaurant from an
unknown cause, wiped out the entire business block at Ostrander, Monday
morning with a loss conservatively estimated at $35,000. The fire
was discovered at 5:30 o'clock and the blaze had been controlled by 7:30
o'clock and soon after the fire had burned itself out. By nine
o'clock the entire business section of the village was a smoldering ruin
several brick walls alone standing in the square.
Miller Warren, who occupied a room above the Truman restaurant, first
discovered the fire. When he was awakened his room was filled with
smoke and he made his way to the outside with some difficulty.
Warren gave the alarm and in a short time the entire village was engaged
in fighting the flames.
The new fire apparatus recently purchased by the village had its first duty
to perform, but the blaze had gained too strong a headway and the chemical
tanks were powerless to check the onrushing flames. Bucket brigades
were also formed and with the fire engine managed to confine the blaze to
the one square. An old frame building, a former livery stable, and
regarded as one of the worst fire traps in the village, was the only structure
in the entire square to escape. It is located at the southwest
corner of the burned area, almost across from the Big Four station.
Buildings destroyed were occupied by the R.F. Long restaurant and ice
cream parlor; the Crane pool room; the Drake Meat Market and the Barley
grocery, located in the same room; Truman Lowe restaurant; H.T. Kyle drug
store; C. Hannawalt, general store; The M.R. Hayes Hardware store; The
Masonic Temple; Ralph Montgomery Barber Shop; Ed Bean, dwelling and
bakery; the Robinson Blcok in which was located the post office and
Robinson's Undertaking Establishment on the first floors and on the second
floor The Robinson Opera House; the Lamme Farm Implement store and the
Cartmell Hotel, and a frame building owned by Adolph Crane.
Merchants were able to save much of their stock, volunteers moving from
one store to the next and carrying out the goods. Yards were filled
with merchandise Monday morning and one of the greatest difficulties
facing the business men of the city was in finding places in which to temporarily
do business. With the burning of the block business rooms are few in
the village. Many of the merchants were moving their stock into
barns and their homes for the time being.
The men of the village proved themselves, good workers and with leaders
in charge of different sections they put in a busy day in removing the
rescued stocks to places of safety. The women likewise, were not
unmindful of their duty in the time of disaster, and were passing coffee
and sandwiches to the horde of workers.
J.C. Maugans, who owned a number of the store rooms, and Harry
Robinson, owner of the Robinson building were probably the heaviest
losers. Mr. Maugans owned the rooms occupied by the Drake Meat
Market, the Lower restaurant, the Kyle Drug Store, the Hannawalt store, a
room to the west of the Hannawalt store, which was unoccupied, the room
occupied by the Hayes Hardware Store and the Masonic Temple on the second
floor over the unoccupied room and the Hayes Hardware store. He
estimated his loss at $8000, partially covered by insurance.
Robinson estimated his building at $7000. It was occupied by
the postoffice and the Robinson Undertaking establishment on the first
floor and the Robinson Opera House on the second floor. The opera
house contained 300 opera chairs and a piano, which was not removed.
The Ed Bean dwelling and baker were estimated at $2500 valuation with
insurance covering less than half that amount.
Mr. Harmon Cartmell owner of the hotel suffered a loss of over
$2000. The furniture was all removed from the building.
The building occupied by the Lane Implement store was owned by Clem
Liggett and was estimated at a valuation of $1500.
The frame building owned by Adolph Crane had been recently purchased by
him for $500.
The building occupied by the Montgomery Barber Shop was the property of
Dr. G.E. Cowels. Its value was estimated at $1500.
The room occupied by the Long Restaurant was owned by Hamilton Brothers
of Bellefontaine. It was valued at more than $2000.
The room occupied by Adolph Crane's pool room was owned by the estate
of Grover Stover. It was valued at $1500 and there was no insurance,
it was stated.
Heaviest losers among the business men were probably H.T. Kyle, the
druggist, whose store adjoined the Lowe Restaurant where the fire is said
to have originat3ed and C. Hannawalt, owner of the general store, adjoining
Kyle's place. Kyle estimated his loss at $3000 with $2000 insurance
while Hannawalt estimated his loss at around $2500 partially covered by insurance.
All fixtures in the Truman Lowe restaurant where the fire was discovered
were lost and he was...