Fire at Millbrook in October 1899
"Nearly All Business Concerns Destroyed"
Published in the Kendall County Record, October 11, 1899
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
Our neighboring village of Millbrook down the river, met with a hard blow Saturday evening, when the entire business part of the town on the west or south side of the one main street was destroyed by fire. The property, which burned, was the old hotel building which contained DeWitt VanTassel's hardware store, Washburn & Marshall's market and Lawson's grocery store. The hotel barn and VanTassel's machinery shed also went. It was only by hard work that Larson's lumber yard and coal sheds were saved. They were on the same side of the street.
It was thought at one time that the large general store of O. B. Larson would also be consumed, along with the elevator and depot. Thus wiping out the entire village. Fortunately, the wind changed and nothing on that side of the street burned.
The reflection of the fire was plainly seen from Yorkville. It is not know how the fire originated. The first seen of it was flames coming out from the west side of Mr. Lawson's house. Much regret has been expressed here for the losers by this occurrence.
The Record's Millbrook correspondent gives the following further particulars. A disastrous fire occurred at Millbrook Saturday afternoon. It started in the dwelling of Mrs. Will Lawson at about half-past four. It being a frame structure the fire was soon spreading all over the building. Friends and neighbors hastened to lend a helping hand and soon got out some of the household goods and also some of the groceries from the store. Neither water nor labor could stop the fire. It leaped to a shed, also to the hotel, and soon the fact was plainly seen that the whole block must go.
The hardware store, owned by DeWitt VanTassel, was the heaviest loss of any of the business houses. The buildings owned by the Budd estate had no insurance on them. Mr. VanTassel had his stock insured.
The Modern Woodmen lost all their rituals, uniforms and badges. They think that seventy-five dollars will hardly cover the loss. They also lost their goat.
J. P. Washburn and Marshall lost quite a good deal of stock and their fine icebox. We understand they had a small insurance.
For awhile it seemed as though everything would go. With untiring effort on the part of the people, the building of O. B. Larson was saved.
There is but little talk of re-building. It will be a great loss to the town, as it is a good business center. A fire, when under control and confined, is man's friend. Allowed to escape it soon becomes his enemy.