Friday, August 27, 2010

Marion's 1919 Main Street Fire

Marion has had many fires in her past history.  I guess all the old towns were troubled with fires, as heating would be from coal or wood with a chimney, and many buildings would be of wood.  Also blacksmith and stables would be located in the area and they were always starting a fire.

This fire that struck down town Marion was in July of 1919.  It destroyed the businesses from Carlisle Street down to the Masonic Lodge on Bellville and Main Street.  As you can see in the picture the Masonic Lodge, the building on the left was spared but the other buildings were totally destroyed, with just the brick fire wall left standing. The old Marion Bank is on the right end, with it's outer walls still standing but the inside was totally destroyed.

This rare photo of this fire was shared with us by Don Foster, of Livingston Co.  (I wonder if there are other old photos such as this one in someone's attic or garage and they do not realize what they have.)  A statement in the Crittenden Press at the time of the fire, stated that they had pictures made of the ruins that the fire had made to have for future history.

The citizens of the town of Marion got tired of looking at this scene and had hopes of it being cleaned up and new business buildings rebuilt in the very near future, but it was 1921 before this happened.  Perhaps they were tired from the expense of other fires in past years, but finally in June of 1921, Mrs. Electra Carnahan Frisbie got busy and built this section back.  

This is the section of buildings that were burned and this is how they look today.  The year 1921 is engraved on a plaque and is pictured about the door  and window with the columns of brick on each side.

No comments: