NEW RICHMOND HOTEL-1914 - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Source: New Richmond Record, Thursday, 23 July 1914 p 1

At a quarter of five Friday evening an alarm of fire rang out, and word was passed from one to another - "It's the hotel." Quickly the town's chemical engines and a crowd of earnest fire fighters were on the scene to do the best they could to save property from the flames. When first discovered the hotel was thought doomed and no effort was made to save the building. The first men to arrive assisted in removing clothing and personal effects of the hotel boarders and the fixtures of the hotel and the great part of all such property was saved. Fanned by a west to northwest breeze the flames spread rapidly and drove the men from the upstairs rooms. The fire is supposed to have caught in the roof near the NW corner of the building from a defective kitchen flue. Finding the hotel property was beyond all hope of saving, the attention of the fire fighters was turned to saving the big grain elevator of Haywood & Detchon and the New Richmond Coal & Lumber Co yards which were in direct line of the rain of sparks and flying shingles from the burning building; also the near buildings of the Flaugher livery barn and shed across the street, the cottage occupied by Fern Patton and wife just north of the hotel, and the wood storage of Chas. Haywood, south of the hotel. Every pump in the vicinity was used to its capacity for water used by a well organized bucket brigade, and all the hose about town was pressed into service to raise the water to the roof of the big elevator. Though the elevator was on fire some half dozen times, the sheds at the lumber yard were afire at possibly a dozen different places, it was quite marvelous that the destruction of peropty was confined to the hotel, due to the efforts of a sufficient force of willing fire fighters. The New Richmond Hotel was one of the old landmarks of the town. The south and what was known as the old part of the hotel, was first built about the early 70s, by a Mr. Smock and for many years served as a grist mil. Its frame timber as shown in the fire of Friday evening were heavy and probably a far superior quality than that of many a more modern built structure. ALong in the 80s the mill was converted into a hotel and was named the Black Bear Hotel, which name remained unchanged until two or three years ago. Ira Stout was long the owner of the hotel and added the new part of the hotel in quite a rommy addition of dining room and sleeping rooms above built in 1893. Mrs. Hope Kirkpatrick for a great many years continued as proprietress of the hotel, under whose management this hostelry and quite a marked success for a hotel in a small town, and many a traveling man managed to catch the last train for New Richmond or made a late drive to spend the night at the Black Bear Hotel and sit at Aunt Hope's splendid board. In more recent years while the hotel has not lacked for patronage, it has had numerous owners and under full as many managers. This year has seen two or more owners and at least four managers. Mrs. Zula Million sold the hotel management in the spring. Mrs. Annis Roark and Mrs. Margaret Kincaid were the new proprietresses in succession named, the hotel again changing hands on Saturday previous to the fire, the last proprietor being Mrs. J.H. Lane, the wife of the Clover Leaf agent. The last owner of the hotel was Mr. J.A. Frakes of Greentown, who on the same day of the fire had purchased the property of Mr. Graves of Winamac, Mr. Frakes was here to see his new property that afternoon leaving New Richmond on the 2:47 eastbound Clover Leaf train. We were not able to learn the figures of the last transfer of the hotel property, nor the amount of insurance on the building. Mr. Frakes and the adjuster for the insurance company were expected here Monday afternoon to adjust the loss. Mrs. Lane's loss which covers clothing, dishes and cooking utensils, will probably reach $30 to $35. -- typed by kbz

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