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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

Port Washington Star: Port Washington, Wisconsin Saturday, March 4, 1899,   pp. 20-22

Page 20

Citizens Subscribe $25,000 to Aid in the Work and the Northwestern Ry.
will build a Spur from the Main Line to the New Factory.
Possibility of a Big Steel Industry Locating Here now that the Building of a
Spur is Assured.---Employ 150 Hands.
Since the great fire of Feb. 19, but little else has been talked of in this city but the
probability of the Chair Company's rebuilding their extensive factory.
Shortly after the fire a conference was held between representative citizens and
Mr. F. A. Dennett when a definite understanding was arrived at. Mr. Dennett stated that
he would be willing to rebuild if aid to the amount of $25,000 was extended to him, and
if the Northwestern Ry. could be induced to build a spur track from the main line to the
harbor where the company's plant is located. It was thought likely that the latter would be
done willingly as the railway company would wish to preserve the business of their
largest patron here. It was decided to make an earnest effort to raise the $25,000 bonus,
and daily sittings were held at the city hall by the mayor and common council at which
subscriptions were received from tax payers and others.
Earnest and systematic work on the part of every city official and a number of
influential citizens has brought up the amount to about $22,000, and the prospect is that
the required bonus will be raised. In fact it is very likely that the full amount has already
been pledged in behalf of our citizens.
It is a lamentable fact that the influence of a certain element, composed of those
old residents who are careless of the welfare of the city, has nearly worked the ruin of the
enterprise, and it was only through the masterly work of the common council that the
effect of that influence was averted.
THE STAR would like to print a full list of the public spirited citizens who have
subscribed toward this fund. As a rule nearly every taxpayer cheerfully put his name
down for two and one-half times the amount of his taxes, which was estimated to be each
one's proportion, but many subscribed much more. We should also like to print a list of
those who have so far neglected this opportunity to testify in a substantial manner just
how much they appreciate the additional wealth that has come to them since the chair
factory was established. At present such a course is deemed inexpedient, but if the
enterprise is ruined through their lack of cooperation we shall surely do so, and also the
names of a few who have not embraced the opportunity as cordially as they ought.
It was a big task before the city fathers who finally settled the matter of building
the necessary spur track. It was understood that some of the property owners would
refuse to contribute to the bonus and would offer other objections if the proposed spur

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