Three Mile Bay Fire of 1887

From Jefferson County NY Wiki

About five O'clock in the morning on March 2, 1887 a fire broke out in what was known as the Schuyler Block in downtown Three Mile Bay. It was caused by a defective stovepipe in the Schuyler building on the upstairs floor. By the time it was discovered the building was already a loss. In this building was Mr.John Lansing Schuyler's boot and shoe store, Mr McKinstry's general store, The Curtis & Storm furniture store and Mr. J. L. McMullins merchant tailor shop. From there the flames spread quickly to the Doctor Waterman Vincent block. Dr. Waterman A. Vincent had his office and also a drug store in one end of it. This building was soon a total loss. A large block owned and occupied by G. R. Wilcox burnt and heavy damages were done to more business including Flanders & Warner furniture store in the Wilcox block. A tenement building owned by Mr. Wilcox along with the homes of Mr. C. W. McKinistry and Mr. Wilcox. The Central House, a hotel that was near caught on fire but the fire was soon put out and that building was saved.

There was one injury when a glass bottle fire extinguisher fell hitting C. D. Hayes on the head but he was soon back to fighting the fire.

The Watertown Fire Department was credited for saving as much of the village as was possible from total destruction. When they were called at eight twenty five that morning, they loaded their steamer and two hose carts on a flat bed railroad car and sent it to the station at Three Mile Bay which was located about a mile out of town. From there a team of horses drew the steamer on the ice in the Bay and there they drew their water to fight the fire. This saved time as it only took twenty six minutes by railroad car. Chief McCarthy of the Watertown Fire Dept had sent all his equipment including the hook and ladder truck.

Most of the residents including many women helped save what they could and fight the fire. When it was over the only stores left standing were two saloon's one owned by A. J. Lucas and another owned by George Crouse plus a general merchandise store owned by Wheeler & Hayes, J. L. Taylor's harness store and A. J. Lucas's grocery store. The fire caused over $40,000 in damages but the most of it was covered by insurance.

Mr. Schuyler rebuilt his residents but in 1900 it was destroyed by another fire. Mr. Schuyler's son, Daniel B. Schuyler, who was just a boy at the time of the fire grew up and later became president of the Jefferson County National Bank.

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Disasters and Catastrophes