The good West Palm Beach fires of 1896

Viewers: Think about creating a bold new metropolis, with good enthusiasm and hope, only to undergo, just two years in, two devastating fires just weeks apart.



a group of people posing for a photo: West Palm Beach's "Flagler Alerts" in 1904.


© [Image courtesy West Palm Beach Fire-Rescue.[
West Palm Beach’s “Flagler Alerts” in 1904.

Here’s additional on people 1896 fires from our archives, the Historical Society of Palm Beach front County, and the West Palm Seaside fireplace department:

On the day immediately after New Year’s Working day 1896, a fireplace would melt away down half of the downtown business enterprise part.

It broke out about 2 p.m. at what then was the center of city, all around Narcissus and Banyan streets.

The corner sported a lunch area, a cigar and sweet emporium, and saloons, as well as the drug retailer operated by Palm Seashore pioneer Elisha Newton “Cap” Dimick.

An overheated gasoline stove exploded in the Midway Plaisance Saloon, a big wood constructing on the south facet of Banyan Avenue. Soon the fireplace had unfold to Narcissus Road, where developer and bottler George Zapf — who would serve on the inaugural city fee — had opened the Seminole Resort in 1894.

Firefighters’ hoses failed to get to, so adult men built a bucket line from “Lake Worth” — the Intracoastal Waterway — to the Palms Resort on Narcissus. Men and women damp blankets and hung them out resort windows to tamp flames.

Inside of two and a fifty percent several hours, an post stated, “the fantastic perform of the hearth office the fireplace was checked at the Stower’s Setting up at 4 o’clock.”

A wire tale stated some buildings had been dynamited to sluggish the hearth. A person explosion wounded quite a few people, such as E.M. Wheeler, who ran a livery. That is a horse stable.

The Flagler Alerts, regardless of their efforts, experienced saved handful of of the burning buildings. When the variety afflicted wasn’t detailed, it totaled a third of structures on Narcissus and everything on Banyan.

Losses to buildings and contents totaled $130,000. That’s $4 million in modern bucks.

“The insurance plan is extremely little and numerous folks are manufactured homeless,” a wire tale claimed.

On Jan. 31, a correspondent who known as himself just “Phelim” wrote a Tennessee newspaper about the hearth. “Instead of sitting down down and crying above the consequence,” he wrote, citizens “are heading ahead and rebuilding.”

Not so fast.

Future week: The second fire.

Write-up Time appears in print each and every Thursday in Neighborhood Publish. 

This article initially appeared on Palm Seashore Article: Publish TIME: The great West Palm Seashore fires of 1896

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