Business District Fire


Seven Frame Buildings Burned on April 25

One of the most disastrous fires in early Osceola history, on April 25, 1885, destroyed the entire half block of business houses at the southeast corner of the square, on the east side of Main street. Completely burned to the ground were seven frame buildings, starting with the one on the location now (1951) occupied by Bevans Smart Shoppe on East Jefferson street, and extending around the Jones Cafe corner south to the alley.

The fire was thought to be of incendiary origin, evidences found indicating it had been kindled from the outside of the Alexander Meat Market. There was very little insurance, and loss was estimated at $5,300.

When discovered by John Kerr and C.C. McIntire, the fire had such a head start tht it was impossible to extinguish it. Kerr and McIntire gave the alarm, and then broke into the Atkins & Cooley livery stable to free horses there before the flames reached them. Citizens responded promptly, and for the next three or four hours the fire brigade tried to get the fire controlled, but failed.

The Garretson drug store was saved only after the greatest difficulty and labor. At one time the Harding block was in imminent danger of burning. Several of the windows were broken, and casings and cornice were badly scorched. If it had caught on fire, it is likely the entire south side of the square would have been destroyed as well.

List Victims

Victimes of the fire, seven in all, were listed in the account of the fire. They were

Source: Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, section 4, page 4.

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