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1907 - 600,000 BUSHELS OF GRAIN DESTROYED AT SUPERIOR - Great Northern Elevator Burns to Ground and Fire Also Does Further Damage - Total Loss Over Two Millions
SUPERIOR, Wis., Nov. 9. - Six hundred thousand bushels of grain, principally wheat, was destroyed early to-day, when the Great Northern elevator "A," one of the largest in the world, was burned to the ground. The flames also reached to the Grand Republic mill on Towner Bay Slip, the great lakes dredge and Rock Company and dock and the Duluth Superior Storage Company and the total loss is estimated at more than $2,000,000. The A. D. Thompson Grain Company of Duluth leased the elevator from the Great Northern. The loss is well covered by insurance.
The losses figured to date are:
Great Northern elevator and power house, $1,300,000; Great lakes dredge and docks company, $850,000; Freeman Flour Mills and Elevator Co., $200,000; Minkota Flour Mill, $250,000; Whitney Brothers and Ship-building plant, $250,000 each.
The flames were not gotten under control until this morning. Four fire tugs responded to the first alarm, but the intense heat drove them so far back that they were ineffective. Fighting the flames on shore also was impossible on account of the heat, so the best the firemen could do for several hours was to check the spread of the fire. When the flames started two steamers, the W. A. Rogers, and A. W. Parent, were in the elevator slip, loading wheat.
The Chill, the Alva and Utica were at the opposite side of the Merchandise dock. Tugs pulled all of them from the danger zone, but all were blistered by the heat.
Two scows, a derrick and two tugs were unable to escape, however, and were burned to the water's edge. The St. Paul and Western Coal Company dock and the Northern Pacific bridge caught fire, but the blaze at the dock was extinguished before it had done much damage and the bridge was saved, although it was sufficiently damaged to interrupt traffic between Duluth and Superior.
Flying sparks from elevator "A" spread the fire to the Grand Republic mill on the Toer Bay slip, and the dock of the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company. The Duluth-Superior Storage Company's plant was also ignited. The Webster Chair Company's plant was gutted. The Great Northern elevator and power house was a total loss as was the Freeman flour mill and elevator. In all 700,000 bushels of grain were destroyed. The Globe elevator and the Peyton, Kimball and Barber saw mills caught fire, but were saved. About forty small dwellings were attacked by the flames and many of them were destroyed.
One man may have lost his life in the conflagration. An employe of the Duluth-Superior Storage Company rushed into their plant when it was attacked by the flames to save a chest of papers and he has not been heard from since. The fire was extinguished at 11 o'clock. The fire swept over a mile of ground.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
November 9, 1907
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