Monday, November 12, 2007

Fire At Goodnow's - Part I

O.H. Bailey & Co. 1891 (BPL)

Goodnow Building, Centre street, between Burroughs street and Harris avenue. Richards, L.J. 1899 (copyright © 2000 by Cartography Associates)
David Rumsey Collection.

The Goodnow Building stood at 710-714 Centre street, between Harris Avenue and Seaverns Avenue. It was a three story wood frame building, with a store on the first floor and apartments above. Unlike today's solid row of stores, there was space on either side of the Goodnow building, leading to an attached livery stable in the back. The building directly connecting to the front-facing block was of brick, with a further wood stable building connecting still further back.

In the ground floor of the front building, J.N. Goodnow had his bakery. Above, six families lived in the apartments. In the brick building to the rear, Lewis & Co. had a bakery and ice cream shop in the basement, and a livery stable above. At the very back, the wood frame livery stable was owned by H.W. Beckwith.

At 1:38 a.m. on the morning of February 2, 1895, the first of three fire alarms was pulled in response to a blaze in the three story rear brick block. In the basement bakery, hot oil being used for donought making had exploded across the room, setting the entire room ablaze. The fire spread to the livery stable above, killing seven horses and destroying two carriages. The fire rose up through the elevator shaft to the apartment on the third floor as well. In time, the entire brick extension was destroyed.

The fire spread to the front building, burning the store on the ground floor. Above, the residents of the apartments had to leave their homes with the clothes on their backs, some coming down ladders, and an elderly woman carried out.

The Beckwith livery stable in the back caught fire as well, but was saved. Within 25 minutes of arriving, the firemen had contained the fire.

Source: Boston Daily Globe February 2, 1895

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