1883 - January 10 - Fire at uninsured Newhall Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin kills 71. General Tom Thumb of P T Barnum fame, escapes unhurt
The deadliest fire in Milwaukee history occurred at the Newhall House hotel on January 10, 1883 on the corner of Michigan Street and Broadway. Firemen who battled previous fires at the hotel, one of Wisconsin’s largest, dubbed it a “tinder-box.” The inferno originated in the opulent structure’s wooden elevator shaft and took over twenty-six hours to extinguish. Seventy-two people died, many jumping from their rooms. After raising and extending a ladder across an adjacent building, firefighter Herman Strauss heroically rescued ten female servants. A song composed by J. W. Kelley, “The Milwaukee Fire, or the Burning of the Newhall House,” memorialized the blaze, and monuments at Forest Home and Calvary Cemeteries commemorate the victims.
William I. Tchakirides
January 10, 1883
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