For several hours during the later half of Christmas night the citizens of Owenton thought they would lose the entire block of the handsomest business buildings in their little city. At one o’clock on the morning of December 26, fire was discovered in the store of the Hutcheson Clothing Co. Families occupying adjacent flats in adjoining buildings first discovered the fire, and the screams of women and loud and sonorous clanging of bells, with an occasional pistol shot and cries of “murder,” brought out the entire population. By the time they arrived the interior of the building was one red mass of flames and little hope was entertained of saving it or any of the contents.
The engine worked slowly, and at first badly, and before the first streams of water were turned on the fire, the front of the building had collapsed.
The fight was then directed to the adjoining property, and as the walls on both sides were butting directly against the Hutcheson building, it furnished a fine opportunity to the fire department to show its metal. The engine emptied the contents of two large cisterns on the seething mass of burning timbers, and still the flames blazed in all their angry fury. Just as the move was being made to a third cistern, the engine sprung a leak and the fire in the box was extinguished. The only thing to do now was to fight the fire with buckets and a brigade was soon formed for this purpose. Men fought their way along the standing walls and dashed bucket-full of water on red-hot debris and prevented the destruction of the walls, which separated the fire from adjoining building. The Hartsough wall on the west was badly injured, while the Dawson property on the east is so badly damaged that it is thought the wall will have to be rebuilt.
The Hutcheson Clothing Co. lost their entire stock of fine clothing and men’s furnishings. The stock was valued at $17,000 with $11,000 insurance. Dr. R. H. Alexander owned the building and his family occupied the rooms above the store. They were visiting in the country and knew nothing of the fire till the following morning. Nothing was saved from the fire. He carried about $6,000 insurance.
Dr. C. C. Kemper, who had his dentist offices and living apartments in the Dawson Building, suffered a loss of several hundred dollars to furniture and fixtures. He had no insurance. Dr. J. A. Estes and A. D. Dawson occupied the offices on the first floor of the Dawson building and each suffered more or less loss from the fire. We understand that Dr. Alexander will rebuild in the near future, and that the Hutcheson Clothing Co. will re-open as soon as a suitable room can be found.
from the Owenton News Herald, January 2, 1908