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Wester, Kevin J. (ed.) / Consumed by fire : a collection of writings about the famous Wisconsin Chair Company fire, Port Washington, Wisconsin, February 19, 1899
([1997])

Milwaukee Journal: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Thursday, February 23, 1899,   pp. 73-74


Page 73

disturbances were created by a rabble that was attracted by the fire and that was
irresponsible."
"As to the local firemen refusing to help, I think that story came from the fact that
we decided at 4 o'clock in the morning that it was useless to throw any more water on the
acres of burning coals where the lumber had been piled. We thought it better to let the
fire there burn itself out, as there was no wind and no more danger. This was probably
not understood by the Milwaukee men who remained at work after we had sent them
word that we had breakfast ready for them."
"Then, too, as to the failure to be ready for unloading the engine from Milwaukee,
Chief Foley's dispatch announcing that it was coming was not received until the next
morning, and we only knew the engine was coming a few minutes before it arrived. That
was nobody's fault. The wires were down, but we have been blamed for that. The people
of Port Washington appreciate all that was done for us. We don't want any controversy
but we do feel that we have received a good deal of abuse and criticism which was wholly
unjust and uncalled for."
Mr. Bolens said also that citizens were taking prompt measures for relief of those
who would be left destitute by the fire. "We have already secured work in other chair
factories for thirty or forty men and we shall take care of all who need help and cannot get
work. Port Washington has no indebtedness. It has always been a well conducted city,
taxes are low and there is a good deal of wealth in the town."
Mr. Bolens said everyone was hopeful the factory would be rebuilt and while the
Messrs. Dennett could reach no decision until the insurance was adjusted, he believed
that they would rebuild. Mr. Ramsay, one of the stockholders, it is said, will withdraw
from the enterprise, but there are others in Port Washington who will furnish the
additional capital that might be needed.
MIL WA UKEE JOURNAL
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1899
MANY OTHER CITIES AFTER CHAIR PLANT
Other Cities Trying to Get the Wisconsin Chair Company Away from Port
Washington.
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis., Feb. 23. Even if the Wisconsin Chair company,
which was burned out Sunday night, decides to build a new plant, it is not certain that the
factory will be located in Port Washington. The company has received a number of
propositions offering inducements to rebuild in other Wisconsin cities and in cities in
other states, and the acceptance of one of these offers is not out of the question.


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