Posts Tagged ‘Younker Brothers’


Rockwell City’s Baptism of Fire

   Posted by: admin    in People, Rockwell City

The Fort Dodge Messenger: April 1, 1903

Rockwell City’s Baptism of Fire

Columbia Hotel and Illinois Central Depot Destroyed by Fire Today

Guests Roused From Sleep

Many are Forced to Leap From Buildings of Blazing Hotel. Loss is Heavy

Rockwell City, Ia. April 1 – Thirty guests were forced to flee in their night clothing from the burning Columbia hotel in this city at early hour this morning. Many were compelled to jump from the widows (sic) of their rooms, but at the hotel was a two story structure none were injured.

Scarcely anything was saved from the burning building, the startled guests being barely given sufficient time to make their own escape. One traveling man for Younker Brothers of Des Moines lost samples valued at $800.

The fire started from the explosion of a kerosene lamp, shortly before five o’clock this morning, and before the fire department could arrive the flames were beyond control. The building was burned to the ground.

The hotel was owned by Dr. J.M. Cooper. The loss, which will amount to $5,000,  is total, the insurance policy having expired three days ago, and not having been renewed.

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Rockwell City, April 1. – The Illinois Central depot at this place burned this afternoon. The flames started while Agent E.E. Empie and his assistants were all away from the depot, and the source of the fire is a mystery for this reason. The whole structure, including the baggage and express rooms and their contents, burned to the ground.

The fire department had a hard fight to save some barns near by, but were successful in this endeavor, altho they could not save the depot building itself.

(Editor’s note: According to this website, 1903 dollars adjusted to 2009 dollars [the latest year offered on the site]  would mean the salesman’s $800 samples would be worth around $19,000 today. The $5,000 hotel would be approximately $118,000 today.)

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