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Ruins from Fargo Fire, Fargo, N.D.
Ruins from Fargo Fire, Fargo, N.D.
TitleRuins from Fargo Fire, Fargo, N.D.
Date of Original1893
CreatorMeeker, Edwin J.
Creator RoleIllustrator
DescriptionMen walking along railroad tracks with line of burned steam engines nearby and ruins and smoke ain distance.
Ordering InformationConsult:
General SubjectCity & Town Life
Subject (LCTGM)Fires
Steam engines
Railroad tracks
Organization NameNorthern Pacific Railroad Company
LocationFargo (N.D.)
Cass County (N.D.)
North Dakota
United States
Item NumberFolio 102.FaG46.5
Format of OriginalLithographs
Dimensions of Original27 x 40 cm.
Publisher of OriginalFrank Leslie's Publishing House
Place of PublicationNew York (N.Y.)
Transcription""General view of the ruins." - Caption title.
"The Fargo Fire. As English drummer-boy captured by the French was ordered to beat the general retreat, and told his captors ‘he didn't know how; they never taught that in the British army.; The same spirit seems to animate the citizens of Fargo, the chief city of North Dakota, which on Wednesday, June 7th, sustained a loss of over three million dollars by fire, about one-third of this being covered by insurance. Almost before the ruins were cool over one thousand laborers were set at work clearing up the ruins, preparing to rebuild at once.
The fire started at 3:15 in the afternoon in the rear of a big dry-goods store on Front Street, and is said to have been caused by some hot ashes carelessly thrown in to the alley from a restaurant next door. The wind was blowing from the south at thirty-five miles an hour, and the flames spread with the rapidity of a prairie fire. Right across the street was a big warehouse containing $150, 000 worth of binding twine and farm machinery, Fargo being the headquarters and distributing point for North Dakota, eastern Minnesota, and part of South Dakota. These structures were nearly all of wood, having been erected in the early days, and inside of fifteen minutes the whole warehouse district was a roaring hell of flames, while the terrific wind caught up the blazing boards and shingles and carried them blocks away to the north. A little over half a mile from where the fire started stood the big brick North Side high school, but the flames traveled with such rapidity that at four o'clock it was a ruin. North and west of the school is a thickly settled residence district, mostly two-story frame houses, and over one hundred and twenty of these burned before five o'clock. Meanwhile the wind had shifted a little to the east and driven the fire into the heart of the business district, most of the big stores, banks and business blocks being located on Broadway, which bounds the warehouse district on the west. The firemen fought stubbornly, but the intense heat from the acres of buildings which were on fire drove them back from one street after another until only one building was left standing on Broadway for six blocks between the Northern Pacific and Great Northern tracks. After a time the flames crossed Broadway and started on a new career of destruction toward the northwest. The firemen made a fresh stand at Roberts Street, two blocks west, and here their efforts were finally successful, not more than twenty houses being burned west of that.
It was a piteous sight when the sun rose next morning. The engines were still puffing noisily, while the weary firemen directed their streams on the two dozen fires which were still burning at various points. Looking north from where the fire started the eye traveled for nearly three-quarters of a mile over heaps of smouldering ruins, from three to five blocks in width, covering over one hundred acres.
Besides wiping out more than half the business portion of the city, over two hundred warehouses were burned and over two thousand people were homeless. In the gardens and vacant lots around the burnt district were hundreds of people who had spent the night by the pitiful remnants of their household goods which they had succeeded in carrying out while the streets in the vicinity were patrolled by the blue-coated militia, who had been ordered out to assist the police in preventing depredations. Next morning a meeting of citizens was called and over ten thousand dollars was subscribed for the immediate relief of the more pressing cases. A relief committee composed of the cashiers of four banks was appointed.
So far from being disheartened by such a disaster the citizens the very next day commenced preparations to rebuild. The City Council discussed the question and decided to allow no frame structures, of whatever nature, inside the fire limits. Excavations have already commenced for brick blocks to cost over three-quarters of a million dollars, a large portion of which will be paid out in Fargo this summer for wages and bricks. The rebuilding will result in securing employment for nearly all the laboring classes and mechanics, but large sums will be needed to aid them until work gets fairly started, and also to care for the large number of clerks, stenographers, typewriters and such classes, who cannot expect to earn anything for some time. The railroads entering the city all carry donations for the fire sufferers free, which should be addressed care relief committee.
It is the determination never to be beaten which has created the State of North Dakota out of what it was twenty years ago, the home of the Indian and the buffalo, and has raised annually 70, 000, 000 bushels of wheat in what as children we were taught was the ‘great American desert.' Fargo was not a large town in numbers, its population being a little under ten thousand, but it was the proud boast of its citizens that it transacted more business for its size than any city in the United States. To prove this they point to the fact that the post office receipts here are $4.16 per capita, the largest in the United States, the next largest being $2.68 per capita at Butte, Montana, and $2.52 per capita at Cincinnati, Ohio. In per capita national bank deposits Fargo stands second in the United States, the amount being $201.20; Helena, Montana, occupying the first place. The telegraph receipts per capita are more than any other city in the Union, and it does the largest business in distributing farm machinery. Under these circumstances the people of Fargo are hustling to get up new and better business blocks than before, as they know that this must, in the nature of things, as the junction point of three transcontinental railroads be the distributing point for a vast section of the country, and they don't want to miss their share of the profits. As at Chicago, Spokane, and other places which have suffered conflagrations, the result will be beneficial in the end, as the new city will be of brick throughout, insurance will be lower, and property more valuable. Still it takes true grit to look at it that way at the time of the disaster, and the spirit shown by the people of Fargo does them credit, Alfred E. Wood" Text accompanying image, Frank Leslie's Weekly, June 29, 1893, p. 421.
NotesTitle supplied by staff.
"The recent fire at Fargo, North Dakota, by which property valued at three million dollars was destroyed. Drawn by E. J. Meeker from photographs supplied by Alfred E. Wood." - Caption with drawing and two photographs on page.
Illus in: Frank Leslie's Weekly, June 29, 1893, p. 412.
ContributorWood, Alfred E.
Contributor RolePhotographer
Repository InstitutionNorth Dakota State University Libraries, Institute for Regional Studies
Repository CollectionDakota Lithographs and Engravings Collection Folio 102
Collection Finding AidConsult:
Credit LineInstitute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (Folio 102.FaG46.5)
Rights ManagementImage in public domain.
Digital IDrsL00105
Original SourceFrank Leslie's Weekly, June 29, 1893, p. 412
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