Providence, RI Howard Block and Museum Fire, Nov 1858

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The total loss by the fire in Providence on Monday of last week, is estimated at $250,000. Howard Block and the Museum were totally destroyed.

New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette, Concord, NH 24 Nov 1858

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Destructive Fire in Providence.----The elegant block known as Howard Building was destroyed by fire on Monday night, together with the Providence Theater, which was contiguous. The fire is supposed to have originated in the varnishing room connected with a furniture store in Howard Building, and was probably accidental. The entire loss is supposed to be about $25,000. Howard Building was one of the finest edifices in the city. The first and second stories were devoted to spacious stores, and the upper stories contained a hall unsurpassed by any in New England. It was the popular lecture hall, and its destruction will occasion much disappointment, as the course of lectures had just commenced. About five years ago a building of the same size, and not less elegant, was destroyed by fire on the same site. The same fire also destroyed the Providence Museum. The Theater which is now burned has always been under the management of Wm. C. Forbes, esq., until the present season, but had no permanent occupant since Mr. Forbes relinquished it. Both building were the property of George A. Howard, esq.

This great fire was caused by the igniting of a pot of glue or varnish, and destroying property to the amount of $25,000. The Providence Journal says--The terribly magnificent spectacle drew large numbers of people of both sexes to witness it. The steps of the Arcade and the sidewalks of Westminster street were crowded with people, and on the other side, under the porticoes of the railroad depot, in the triangular park, and the open space of Exchange Place, were a great numbers of spectators. The following offices had risks on Howard Block:-- Commercial Providence, $5,000; Firemen's Mutual, $4,000; Franklin Mutual, $5,000; Massonit, Springfield, $5,000; Gaspee, Providence, $7,500 (and stock:) and on the Museum, Merchants' Providence, $2,000; Commercial, 5000; Gaspee, $2300, and $5000 on stock. Louis Strauss & Co. were insured $5000 at the Gaspee: G & C [ineligible] $3000. Henry Whitman's stock was valued at $40,000, and was insured at the North American. Hartford; Hampden, Springfield; Conway, Slater, and Providence, $5000 each.

The Farmers' Cabinet, Amherst, NH 24 Nov 1858

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The edifice was burned on the evening of Nov. 15, 1858, the fire having communicated from Howard Block, where it had originated.

History of the Providence Stage, 1762-1891, page 159

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Providence, RI Howard Building Fire, Nov 1858

Destructive Fire in Providence.

Loss Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars – The elegant block known as the Howard Building, in Providence, R. I., was totally destroyed by Fire on Monday night, together with the Providence Theatre, which was contiguous. The fire is supposed to have originated in the varnishing room connected with a furniture store in Howard Building. The entire loss is supposed to be about $250,000, and the insurance $191,400. The Howard Building was one of the finest edifices in the city. The first and second stories were devoted to spacious stores, and the upper stories contained a hall unsurpassed by any in New England. It was the popular lecture hall, and its destruction will occasion much disappointment, as the courses of lectures had just commenced. About five years ago a building of the same size, and not less elegant, was destroyed by fire on the same site. The same fire also destroyed the Providence Museum.

The Adams Sentinel, Gettysburg, PA 22 Nov 1858