Monday, April 17, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: April 17

April 17, 1901 – Owatonna, Minn., suffered the worst fire in its history early today. The fire started late last night in the basement of James W. Connor’s dry goods store, but after a fight the flames were subdued. The store was carefully watched and examined of fire at 2 a.m. and after no evidence of fire was found, the building was left in charge of watchmen. Suddenly, about 4 a.m. an explosion occurred, supposedly from gasoline, and in a moment the entire building was wrapped in flames. The fire spread to the First State Bank building, which was almost totally wrecked. For an hour it seemed impossible to save the main business portion of the city, but the wind subsided and other losses were confined to exterior scorchings given to adjacent buildings. Connor’s loss was more than $40,000.

Duluth Evening Herald; “Owatonna Is Scorched. Worst Fire In the History of the Southern Minnesota Town…Much Business Property Is Destroyed.”; April 17, 1901; p. 1.


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