Columbus Gazette, Columbus Junction, Iowa Friday, January 29, 1892 page 5
Transcribed by Beverly Gerdts, November 18, 2020

Wapello Visited with Another Fire Saturday Morning
Five Buildings and thousands of Dollars in Property Destroyed.

The biggest things about Wapello are its fires. Last Saturday morning early, occurred the second big one within about a month. It originated in the frame room occupied by J. D. Barr, as a billiard room. before the flames could be stayed, all the old frame buildings between Garrett's fine brick on the north and the Farver brick on the south were entirely consumed. These were "Dave's" Hotel, owned by Mrs. Emily Miller; Wells' flour store; the Jones grocery store, owned by Mrs. Dan McKay; the Cyrus Morgan building, occupied by Barr, where the fire originated, and the Black building, occupied by the Mallory Bros. as a meat market. Mrs. Miller's loss was about $800, pretty well covered by insurance. Dave Kirkpatrick saved most of his things. The insurance of $300 will cover all his losses. Weels' loss on building was about $500; with no insurance. His flour, feed and books were saved through the exertions of his friends; he being sick at home, and unable to look after his property. The Jones building was worth about $500 with an insurance of $300. The lower room was fitted up for Keller & Ong. What few goods they had in it were saved. The upstairs was occupied by Mr. Von Genechten as a billiard hall. Everything was burned but his loss was fully covered by insurance. Morgan's building was a loss of $400, without insurance. J. D. Barr who occupied it, was without insurance and suffers to the extent of $250 or more. Isaac Black's building was valued at $600. He carried an insurance of $400. The Mallory Bros., who occupied this room sustained a loss of $600, no insurance. Mr. Garrett's wall was damaged quite seriously; probably $400 or $500. The Farver building was also damaged considerably. Both these latter were fully insured.

The buildings burned were very old and of little value. The small amount of insurance carried is explained by the high rates charged, the row being considered a fire trap. Some of the buildings burned are of historic interest. The hotel building was originally the first masonic hall in Louisa county and in it were received the first masons ever inducted in to that order in the county. The building was erected as early as 1845 by "Old Mac Watson." The frame was of burr oak, that "Mac" said, long before he died, that he had stolen from "section 16," a school section. It originally stood the long way to the street and the hall was reached by a front, outside stairway. "Mac" walked all the way to Iowa city to get the proper official to open the new lodge. The old building has had many occupants. J. B. Ryder bought it and ended it to the street in an early day. It was at a time when a distillery was in full blast there and he began to fit it up for a saloon. But "Old Fogle," who lived over the river, unearthed two or three barrels of whiskey hid in the sand along the river and confiscated it. This was evidently the stock in trade and the saloon didn't materialize as a consequence. It was in this building that "Horsehead," another well known character, cut his own throat, and died as a result. There are those still living in Wapello who have seen the ghost of this "Horsehead" Many and many a time since. Later on "Johnny" Kufus opened up a beer saloon and restaurant there. Many's the good glass of beer and the fine dinner that was taken there, for Mrs. Kufus was a famous cook. But the old landmarks are going, be they buildings or people. Wapello will be all the better that the buildings are gone, though it will squeeze some of the losers pretty close.

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