Fire in Newark in 1899
Published in the Kendall County Record, June 5, 1889
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
A disastrous fire occurred at Newark Saturday night, entirely consuming the building occupied by William Williams as a clothing store. About 11:30 p.m. the cry of "fire" woke many of our citizens from their slumbers. The hurriedly dressed and rushed to the scene to find the flames bursting through the front of the store. The side entrance was broken in but it was too late to save anything of importance except the safe. Which was carried to a place of safety. The origin of the fire is unknown. Yet as usual in such cases there are many surmises as to how it might have happened. Mr. Williams estimates his loss in goods alone at from $3500 to $3800, partially covered by an insurance of $2500. Two buggies were housed in an unused portion of the building. Also a new bicycle belonging to Clarence Williams was consumed. Thunemann's drug store, the Olson Sisters millinery store, and Mrs. Burlew's restaurant were in danger for a time. As there was very little wind and everything so damp, they were saved by the united efforts of willing hearts and strong hands.
The building was an old landmark. George B. Hollenback built the original portion of the building in the spring of 1833. The building was the first building in Newark. It was twelve feet square and built of logs. He used it for a store and dwelling. Evidence that those must have been primitive days indeed. The building had been rebuilt and added to from time to time. Years ago it assumed its present proportions. For many years it has been familiarly known as the Barnett corner.
Ex-sheriff Newton can probably recall some pleasing reminiscences of the old place. As "once upon a time," about 1850, he presided there as "Mine Host." Mrs. Nels Williams of Wisconsin owned the building. It will be a severe loss to this place. Fortunately for her there was an insurance of $500 upon it. While the old relic of early days lies a heap of ashes and blackened cinders, may a new structure, phoenix-like, arise to take its place?