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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

Sheboygan Herald: Sheboygan, Wisconsin Saturday, February 25, 1899,   pp. 38-39

Page 38

estimated at $399,000. It was the largest manufacturing concern in that city and
employed about 600 men who besides being out of employment lost their tools. The
factory was built about ten years ago and covered three blocks. Besides the brick
building, machinery and stock, it lost 800,000 feet of hardwood lumber, and the foundry
which was destroyed was also stored with chairs for the company. The plant will
probably be rebuilt.
Several firemen were injured, one dying from his injuries. Pipeman M. J. Hackett
of Milwaukee, had his spine broken just below the base of the head, paralyzing him
completely and he was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee where he died Tuesday morning
at 2:30. He was unmarried and had served the department for about a year. He was
thirty-one years old. Capt. Patrick Linehan of Milwaukee had his spine injured, but it is
not regarded as serious and a local volunteer fireman, W. A. Krause, had a leg broken.
CAUSED A LOSS OF $300,000.
Disastrous Conflagration Occurs at Port Washington, Wis.
Port Washington, Wis., Feb. 21 ---Fire totally destroyed the plant of the Wisconsin
Chair company, covering three blocks and laying waste three additional squares. The loss
to the chair company will be about $300,000, fully covered by insurance. The loss to
other property will amount to about $50,000, partially covered by insurance. The small
losses were sustained by about thirty or forty individuals. The Wisconsin Chair company
was the largest manufacturing concern in the town and gave employment to about 600
men. The fire started in the veneering department from some unknown cause and spread
with such alarming rapidity that the big four-story building covering an area of 40 x 80
was soon reduced to ashes. The lumber yards and warehouses adjoining were well
stocked and furnished good food for the flames, which soon made short work of the chair
company's property covering three blocks.
It is estimated that thirty families were made homeless by the fire, though most of
them saved all of their effects. Outside assistance came from Sheboygan and Milwaukee,
the latter city sending two of its best engines. The territory burned over includes Franklin
street to the lake, a distance of two blocks, and from Pier to Wisconsin street, three
blocks. The block bounded by Washington and Pier, from Franklin to the lake, was badly

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