Hinckley and the Fire of 1894 (Images of America)

Hinckley and the Fire of 1894 (Images of America)

Alaina Wolter Lyseth

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 1531670377

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Imagine a force in nature more powerful than multiple atomic bombs—that was the Great Hinckley Fire of September 1, 1894. In only four hours, the fire incinerated over 400 square miles of forest, killed at least 418 settlers and an unknown number of forest-dwelling Native Americans, and destroyed six towns in a firestorm of flame. The elements that led to this unprecedented catastrophe included careless logging practices, a drought, freakish weather, and suspected sparks from passing locomotives. The story of the 1894 fire is a saga of devastation, heartbreak, heroism, survival, hope, and rebuilding that captured worldwide attention. Recently discovered photographs provide a backdrop for a fresh look at the events surrounding the disaster and the courage of the pioneers who survived to tell the tale.

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depot’s on fire!” Inside the St. Paul and Duluth station, 25-year-old telegrapher Tommy Dunn tapped out his final dots and dashes, “I think I have stayed too long,” then ran for his life. On September 1, 1894, residents of the bustling lumber town woke to the blast of the early morning steam whistle, which signaled the start of the first shift at the Brennan Lumber Mill. Shopkeepers opened their doors for early bird Saturday customers. The sunlight filtered through a red, smoky, eye-burning haze

family of eight children. (At right, courtesy of Linda Troolin; below, Maureen DeMoss.) 95 The desolation left behind after the fire is still visible in the background of this photograph of the Hawley hunting shack in 1898. Not much is visible that would attract any kind of wildlife for a hopeful hunter. John Hawley is in the middle of the group, identified by the arrow. (Courtesy of Annie Marczak.) Holding his grandnephew James E. Larson in 1948 is Sandstone fire survivor John Flood Jr. His

bottom of their wells as the firestorm sucked the oxygen out as it passed over; however, the Kelseys waited out the firestorm while listening to their mother pray and sing hymns and fortunately survived. Pictured here in later years is Dr. Kelsey with his wife, Mabel. 100 The Oksanen family (pictured here) lived on Indian Lake, located on the western edge of the fire zone. Closer to Finlayson, the Cheney family huddled in their underground root cellar. They were slowly suffocating until a

with his father and brother Richard on the 160-acre homestead on the western edge of Pine County. These settlers had backfired around their property in an attempt to save themselves and their possessions from the threat of fire that droughty summer. Weser’s wife had fortuitously traveled south to St. Paul on the day of the great conflagration. Alex Weser chose to rebuild his homestead and lived in the area the rest of his life. In 1899, he generously donated land for the establishment of School

and a washboard, plus $5 in cash to purchase soap and bluing for their laundry business. McNeal lived for 11 more years, dying from “old age” on a date estimated to be just shy of her 100th birthday. 51 Just months after flames leveled the town of Hinckley, fire survivor B.C. Bartlett built this hotel and named it after himself. In 1903, B.J. Rolle purchased the inn and decided to rename the business. He distributed printed cards among traveling salesmen and offered a prize for the best

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