The Evening Tribune May/June, 1891

Our History

Grand Haven News October 1, 1889


The Saratoga of the West Completely Annihilated.

The Last Days of Pompeii Thrown in the Shade.

The Cutler House and the Entire Vicinity Extending
to the Corner of Fifth and Columbus Streets
a Sight Pitiable to Behold.

   About 1 o’clock this morning an incipient blaze was discovered in the rear of a frame building adjoining the west side of the Cutler House on Washington street, occupied by Mr. Mall as a meat market. The fire department at once rang a short and quick alarm, which brought out the whole force and a large amount of citizens in the shortest possible time.

   A strong breeze was blowing from the southwest and the flames soon spread to the grocery store of Mrs. N. Slayton, and the drug store of Mr. Baar. The flames from these buildings were blown so as to reach the cornice on the north side of the Cutler House block, and the fire was thus communicated to the finest building in the city. Mr. Beaudry’s two stores in this block, containing a new stock of dry goods, were soon in flames. The alarm was spread through the Cutler house, and the guests being aroused, were all saved with the loss of but little of their effects.

   So rapidly did the flames spread, that the early arrival of the fire department, with the most strenuous efforts, failed to prevent the destruction of this very handsome block. The mansard roof was soon reached and the inflammable material on the top of it arose in burning firebrands, and were blown across both Washington and Third streets, communicating the fire to the First Reformed church and parsonage and also to the Cutler’s fine residence.

Plat Showing Burned Areas

   The fire department of Spring Lake, Muskegon and Grand Rapids as speedy as possible, responded to the telegram sent them, but could not prevent the total destruction of the Cutler block, and the Cutler residence and about thirty other buildings.

   The Cutler house and furniture were insured for $50,000.

   Jacob Baar’s abstract office was saved, but damage to the extent of $500, which was covered by insurance.

   The entire property destroyed consists of the Cutler House block, containing in addition to the hotel, Mr. Beaudry’s two stores, the First National bank and John Pfaff’s insurance office.

   The vault of the bank remains in the ruins and is believed uninjured and its contents safe.

   The other properties destroyed are as follows: The First Reformed church, the Unitarian church, the M. E. church, Baar's drug store, Mrs. Slayton’s grocery store, Mr. Sheldon’s store, occupied by Mrs. Jones (who has removed to one of Mr. Clubb’s stores), The Cutler House livery barn and Mr. Mall’s meat market.

   The dwellings destroyed were those of Hon. D. Cutler, Geo. D. Sanford, Mr. Callum, Mr. Kedzie, Mr. VanLopick, Mr. VerHoeks, Richard Connell, Jacob Nemire, Chas. Conger (2 homes), Mrs. Luland (2 homes), Stephan Monroe, (2 homes), Hirram Potts, Mr. Seeley, Mr. John T. Davis, Rev. Mr. Wormar (the parsonage), Mrs. Squires, Mrs. N. Slayton, Jacob VanerVere, Mr. Calder.

   The barns of the Cutler House, of Mr. Monroe and Mrs. Slayton..

   Altogether we estimate the loss of the property at about $800,000, on which there is an insurance of $142,000 obtained from the following agents: John Pfaff, $95,000, Geo. D. Sanford, $29,500, Mr. Danhoff, $14, 500, Mr. O’Bien, $3,000.

   The real loss to the city cannot, however, be estimated in figures. Mayor Kirby, with his usual hopefulness and energy is doing his best to inspire confidence, believing that there is a great future for Grand Haven not withstanding the present calamity.


   The Sanatorium was saved by a miracle.

   The residence of ex-mayor Griffin had a close call, being badly scorched.

   Mrs. Irish lost $40 in currency by leaving it beneath her pillow.

   The rear wing of Mrs. John W. Hopkins’ house was crushed by the falling walls of the Cutler house.

   The common council met today and took suitable action and measures toward relieving any who may possibly be destitute.

   Geo. E. Dutton and wife, who were married in Spring Lake this morning , lost many valuable presents in the Cutler house.

   Mr. Asa Reynolds who was early on the ground says the fire must have originated in Mrs. Slayton’s barn, southeast of the store, He says the number of buildings destroyed is thirty-nine.

   Schools have all been closed to-day because of the fire and the disorder it produced. Work will open again tomorrow as usual.

   Rev. D. P. Breed and family reached town last evening just in time to witness the city’s costly fireworks. They are visiting the family of Mr. L. E. Briggs. Mr. Breed is just moving from the pastorate of the Congregational church at Reed City to Michigan City, Ind.

   John Lee, editor of the Grand Rapids West Side News, came down today and is taking notes on last night’s conflagration. The boys with the scorched mustaches and eyebrows will probably be remembered in the versatile report which is sure to appear in this week’s News.


Sand Hill City Home Page     Evening Tribune Front Page       E. T. 1891 July Issue