Fire struck Skidmore’s business district early on a Sunday morning in 1904. The January 12, 1904 edition of the Skidmore Standard reported it this way:
Estimated Loss $15,000 With About $4,000 Insurance.
T. E. Haynes’ Law Library, Gatewood & Price, Millinery Stock, and Masonic Hall, Totally Destroyed By Fire.
Buildings Belonged to W. J. Skidmore, With No Insurance.
On Sunday morning at about 3:15 a.m. fire was discovered in the rear of Gatewood & Price’s store room and the alarm was given, and soon the whole town was aroused to find that T. E. Haynes’ law office, Gatewood & Price’s millinery stock and the Masonic Hall was ablaze. The loss will amount to about $15,000.00 with some $3,000 or $4,000 insurance.
The plate glass windows of Kellogg, Price, Smith Mer. Co. across the street were all broken from the heat.
T. E. Haynes is the heaviest loser as the fire destroyed many valuable papers and his fine law library. His loss is estimated to be $5,000.00, with but little insurance.
Gatewood & Price lost their entire stock of millinery which invoiced $2,000 with $1,500 insurance.
The buildings belonged to W. J. Skidmore and had no insurance on them.
The Masonic hall and its entire contents was destroyed with but a small insurance. The A. O. U. W. & K. P.s, which met in this hall, lost all their records and regalia.
It was through the efforts of the bucket brigade that the building occupied by “The Monarch,” T. L. Marlin’s residence and Dr. J. M. Hutt’s buildings were saved.
Some seem to be of the opinion that the buildings were set on fire. We think this is a mistake and that the fire coming the time it did and the conditions of the weather that it was simply incendiary. We hope that these buildings will soon be replaced by some good substantial brick structure as this is one of the best locations in town.
This fire demonstrates the fact that no town the size of this should be without water works.The loss in this fire would give this town a good system of water works and it would reduce the rate of insurance on all property and give the town good protection against future fires.