Dixon Fire 1859

A fire, destroying $33,375 worth of property, swetpt through the business section of Dixon in October of 1859. The fire was believed to have been the work of arsonists according to an account in the Republican & Telegraph of October 20 which reported; "No clue has been had to the incendiaries who fired the city on Friday morning last."

The blaze started between the millinery store of Mrs. Harwood and Roberts & McKays's hat store on First street and extended west and north, sweeping more than half the block. From there the fire swept south across First street destroying another half block.

Bucket brigades, many of them assisted by Dixon women, prevented the fire from spreading across Galena street and sweeping the whole business section of the town. The bucket lines formed at the river and the buildings along the east side of Hennepin street were kept drenched with water.

A westerly wind would have carried the fire across the street despite the efforts of the citizens. It is reported that the entire conflagration lasted less than an hour.

Among the losses reported from the fire were: Roberts & McKay, hatters $2500; Witt & Curry, grocers, $3500; McL. Woodsworth, furniture, $2000; Q. Ely building $6000; Jas. McKinney grocere, $4100; Robertson, Eells & Co. building, $1200; D. B. Ayres merchant, wholly insured; Mrs. Dickson, miliner $4000; Barry house $1400; Mrs. Harwood, $1500; E.Hope, Meat Market $250; Reed, shoemaker $250; MRs. Moore, dwelling $500; Dumphee & Finch, artists $600; Chas. Happel jeweler, $175; S.S. Williams storehouse, $1500; H.Yeakle, furniture; E.B. Stiles building, $1000; H. Loveland $100; Mrs. Fanny Dixon, barn, $1000; Mr. Bartows 14 sewing machines, $800.

The following week, on October 27, the newspaper reported that Dixon would rise again. "Who dares say Dixon is dead?" the editor asked. "Yet there are those who have predicted that the late fire would ruin us; no such thing. As Phoenix rose from her ashes, so will Dixon rise immeasurably greater than she ever was before. Instead of unsafe wooden buildings that were burned, in six months we shall see beautiful blocks of stone and brick arising in their places.. "

Dixon Evening Telegraph 1951 Centennial Edition


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