Whitedale Schoolhouse Fire
Contributed by: Marilyn Fischer & Lynn Norton
Source: Manistique Pioneer Tribune
BLAZE RAZES SCHOOLHOUSE AT WHITEDALE
TWO-ROOM BUILDING COMPLETELY DESTROYED BY FIRE ON WEDNESDAY MORNING FEBRUARY, 1935
FURNACE SHED, COAL AND THE SCHOOL FIXTURES SAVED: LOSS PARTLY INSURED
A disastrous fire, which started about 10:30 o'clock Wednesday morning, completely destroyed the large two-room school building in Whitedale, causing a $15,000 loss which was only partly covered by insurance.
The flames were discovered about 10:45 o'clock in the partition between the main building and the adjoining furnace room. The two teachers, the Misses Winnifred Orr and Helen Gayar, called the Manistique fire department and immediately preceeded to get the children out of the building, and also removed their own personal belongings and all clothing owned by the students.
The Manistique fire department arrived at Whitedale about 11:00 o'clock, 15 minutes after receiving the call, but before they arrived volunteer workers in the community entered the blazing building and removed virtually all equipment and school furniture.
The structure was practically a mass of flames when the department arrived, and the roof was sagging for the cave-in. The firemen directed their attention toward saving the furnace room, which measured about 16 by 24 feet and was built on to the main building about a year ago. The furnace building and about 10 tons of coal were saved.
The building was constructed of brick-veneer and was erected about 20 years ago. About 15 years ago an addition was built. The entire structure was redecorated by C.W.A. labor last winter.
The blaze is believed to have been caused by a defective or over heated furnace pipe leading from the furnace room to the chimney in the main building.
At a meeting of the Doyle Township School Board Wednesday evening, it was decided to use the township hall for classes the rest of the year. It will conveniently seat 50 pupils and work commenced Thursday on moving equipment to the new quarters. Classes, it was reported Thursday morning, will undoubtedly be resumed next Monday.
The members of the school board paid tribute to the two teachers for their quick thinking in marching children out of the doomed building. About 60 pupils were attending classes when the fire started.