WINFIELD COURIER, JANUARY 6, 1876.- In the course of the next four months after the organization, Manning, with the aid of the town company, had surveyed 20 acres of "the particular 40 acres" of his claim into the six blocks along Main street from 5th to 9th streets, and had built the old log store, now occupied by the Post Office and COURIER office, and had moved his stock of goods into it. Dr. Mansfield opened a small drug store in one corner of the Log Store May 1st, and shortly after erected a small drug store where the present store stands.
A structure 20x30 feet and 20 feet in height, consisting of two stories, was erected by the citizens from logs cut from the trees growing along the Walnut river. This building served a variety of purposes.
This building was located on the present site of Manning’s opera house. (NOTE - This is either 819 or 821 Main Street. RKW) It was afterward removed to the ground where the telegram office now stands, and was reduced to ashes a few years since. The upper room of this building was used for a private school during the summer of 1870, being presided over by Miss Anna Marks, later one of the leading teachers of the county.
Courier MAY 6, 1880. - Last Thursday night, between 11 and 3 o'clock, Winfield was visited by the most disastrous conflagration yet happening within her borders. The fire started in the old log store, one of the landmarks of the town, and for years occupied by the COURIER, but was now being used by F. Leuschen as a cabinet shop. The fire is supposed to have originated from the old rags, oil, and varnish in the shop. The alarm was given before the fire was thoroughly underway, and had those first on the ground been furnished with decent appliances, it might have been controlled, saving thousands of dollars worth of property. The old log building was like a tinder box and made a very hot fire. Next to it on the east were two buildings, one belonging to C. L. Harter and occupied by the moulder at the foundry, the other owned and occupied by Robert Hudson. These buildings were both destroyed, but the contents were saved.
Immediately west of the log building, across the alley, was an old livery barn belonging to Hackney & McDonald, which was the next to go.
From this the fire was communicated to the Central and Lindell hotels. As soon as it was evident that the hotels must go, the work of getting out the furniture began. Carpets, bedding, crockery ware, and furniture of all descriptions were tumbled promiscuously out of windows and doors into the street, much of it being broken and smashed. The hotels being dry, pine buildings, burned rapidly, sending up large cinders which fell in different parts of the city, making the utmost vigilance necessary to keep them from igniting buildings three blocks from the fire.
When the two hotels caught, everyone turned their attention toward saving the buildings on either side of the street. They were covered with men who handled buckets of water and barrels of salt, and by their exertions prevented the fire from spreading and destroying the larger part of the business portion of our city.
The old part of the Central Hotel was owned by Jas. Jenkins, of Wisconsin. The new part of the Central Hotel was owned by Majors & Harter. They had sold out to A. H. Doane, and were to have given possession Saturday morning.
The Lindell Hotel was owned by J. M. Spencer, and was leased by Jas. Allen one month ago.
Our citizens generously opened their homes to the homeless people, and accommodations were offered for more than was needed.
The following is a list of the losses and insurance.
Captain Stevens, store, loss $1,000; no insurance.
Fred Leuschen, furniture store and dwelling, loss $1,200. Insurance on stock, in Home, of New York, $300.
C. L. Harter, tenant dwelling, loss $300; no insurance. Tenant had no loss except damage.
Robert Hudson, dwelling, loss $800. Mrs. Hudson removed most of her furniture. No loss except damage. No insurance on either house or contents.
Hackney & McDonald, livery stable occupied by Buckhart, loss $800; no insurance.
Central Hotel, main building: James Jenkins, loss $3,500; insurance, $1,500 in the Atlas.
Central Hotel, Majors & Harter portion: loss to building, $2,500; insurance, $2,100, as follows: Weschester, Springfield Fire & Marine and Hartford, $700 each. [Their insurance was on building and furniture.] The loss of Majors & Harter in excess of their insurance will be upwards of $3,000.
PUZZLING! $2,100-INSURANCE...AND YET $700 EACH ($1,400)...DOES
NOT COMPUTE WITH $2,100 INSURANCE...COULD BE THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $2100 AND $1400 WAS INSURANCE
J. M. Spencer, Lindell Hotel, loss $2,500; insurance $1,000, as follows: Fire Association, $500; Phenix, of Brooklyn, $500; James Allen, loss $1,000; insurance, $800.
Policies are in the agencies of Gilbert, Jarvis & Co.; Curns & Manser; and Pryor & Kinne. The companies are all first class, and the losses will be promptly adjusted and paid.