Rockaway Beach, NY Town Fire, Sep 1892

Ruins of Rockaway Beach Rockaway Beach Circa 1890s

IN ASHES.

ROCKAWAY BEACH, THE FAMOUS RESORT, ALMOST WIPED OUT.

FIRE DESTROYS TWENTY-ONE BLOCKS OF BUILDINGS -- A LADY BURNED TO DEATH -- LOSS, $500,000.

Hotels And Cottages Burned.
New York, Sept. 22. -- Rockaway Beach, the popular summer resort situated on the south shore of Long Island, 20 miles from New York, was almost destroyed by fire Tuesday afternoon. Twenty-one blocks, covering an area of 10 acres, were swept clean of their hotels and cottages. The loss is estimated roughly at $500,000 with less than a third as much insurance. One life was lost.

A Lady Burned To Death.
The fire broke out shortly after noon. It originated in the Seaside museum, Rockaway boulevard and Seaside avenue. The museum was closed, and the only person in the building was MRS. ROBERT PHILLIPS, an employe. She tried to escape from a rear window, but was caught by the flames and suffocated. Her body was burned to a little heap of blackened bones.
WILLIAM O'DONNELL made an unsuccessful effort to rescue MRS. PHILLIPS. He was badly burned and may die. Two firemen were swept off the roof of the Globe hotel on Seaside avenue while trying to manage a load of hose, and were severely but not fatally injured. Other minor accidents occurred.

Burned Like Tinder.
A high wind prevailed. The buildings near the museum, all wooden tinder boxes, were not slow in igniting. It was only a few minutes until the fire was rushing up Rockaway boulevard and Ocean avenue. The local hose company was powerless. The water supply comes from Far Rockaway, and the pressure was too weak to raise a stream. Urgent calls for assistance were sent to Woodhaven, Jamaica and a score more neighboring hamlets. All of them sent hose companies. There was not an engine in the county.
The fire continued to spread, fanned by the brisk wind, while two or three hundred firemen tried to extinguish it with buckets. After Henry street and Wainwright place had been passed by the traveling wall of fire a special train from Long Island City brought an engine at 8:30 o'clock and the railroad station was saved to mark the town site.

Buildings Destroyed.
The burned district comprises two blocks on Seaside avenue, five blocks on Rockaway boulevard, five blocks on Ocean avenue, one block on Henry street and one block on Wainwright place. Following is a list of buildings destroyed:
Seaside museum, loss $50,000, insurance $15,000.
Hotel and Carrousel, owned by JOHN MOLSNER.
Williamsburg house, owned by WILLIAM COLLINS.
MURRAY & DATZ hotel, the largest in the village, loss &75,000, insurance $23,000.
HENRY GESET'S restaurant and hotel, toboggan slide and restaurant owned by WILLILAM BARNES.
Globe hotel, GUS PETERSEN.
GARRISON'S bakery.
DAVE FILIES' New York hotel.
MRS. MARY BOYLE'S boarding house.
THEODORE KRUSE'S hotel.
Gem of the Sea house, R. SIMPSON.
1,000 bath houses and a picnic pavilion owned by WAINWRIGHT & SMITH.
WILLIAM HOWARD'S restaurant.
HENRY SPATZ'S hotel.
JOHN McDERMOTT'S hotel.
FRED SCHILDT'S pavilion and restaurant.
WILLIAM BURGESS' hotel.
HILLMAYER'S hotel.
Ocean house.
Rocky Mountain house.
Metropolitan hotel.
St. James' hotel.
House owned by J. BRATZ.

Nothing More To Burn.
About 6:30 o'clock p.m. the flames, after having practically burned themselves out for want of immediate material upon which to feed, were brought under control, but the fire was still burning brightly at midnight in the center of the burned district.

The Daily Citizen Iowa City Iowa 1892-09-22