FEBRUARY 19, 1880.
The Central Hotel is occupying its new addition.
[CENTRAL HOTEL: NEARLY A CONFLAGRATION.]
MARCH 18, 1880.
About five o'clock last Thursday evening the Central Hotel was discovered to be on fire. In a few minutes after the alarm sounded, and before the fire had got fairly under way, several hundred men were on the ground with buckets and the "Little Giant" fire engine, and in a short time had it completely under control. A good deal of unnecessary damage was done to the furniture by reckless parties, who tore down window curtains, smashed the sash, and did many other things entirely uncalled for. The fire has served to show the utter inefficiency of the means provided to extinguish it. The wells and pumps on which has been squandered a large amount of money were useless, some of the wells being dry and others, where the hose was attached, the force of the pump was too weak to raise the water as high as the building. It is very certain that had the fire occurred at midnight, instead of in daylight when hundreds were on the streets to help extinguish it by hand, a large portion of the business part of our city would now be but a mass of ruins. Let us take this as a warning, and at once cast about for some effective means of protecting ourselves against this devouring demon.
MARCH 25, 1880.
The Central Hotel is now fully repaired and ready for another fire.
[WINFIELD'S FIRE: REPORT TAKEN FROM WINFIELD TELEGRAM.]
TRAVELER, MAY 5, 1880.
About 11 o'clock on last Thursday night, as the citizens of Winfield were wending their way home from the Opera House, the alarm of fire was given, and soon thereafter our beautiful little county seat was the scene of a most destructive conflagration. The fire originated in the furniture store of Fred Leuschen, on Eighth avenue, immediately in the rear of the Central Hotel. The cause of its origin no one knows. Mr. Leuschen says there has been no fire in the lower portion of the store where the fire broke out. The supposition is that a spontaneous combustion of the material used in varnishes, stains, etc., and like stores was the cause of the fire. The flames spread rapidly, it being but a few minutes before the entire building was entirely enveloped. Mr. Leuschen's family, who resided in the second story of the building, barely had time to escape with their lives. All their personal effects were entirely consumed.
Immediately east of the furniture store stood two frame dwellings, which it was impossible to save. They were owned by Messrs. C. L. Harter and Robert Hudson. The furniture being all carried out, these gentlemen sustained no great loss except that of the buildings. On the west of the building, where the fire originated, stood the livery stable of Hackney & McDonald. The contents of this place were removed, with the exception of a few bushels of grain and some hay. After this latter building took fire, it became evident that the Central Hotel must also yield a victim to the fell destroyer. The work of removing the contents began at once. Hurrying to and fro through the hallways of the building was a score or more of half dressed women, carrying in their arms bundles of clothing, and crazed with excitement and fear, presenting a spectacle that baffles description. Carpets were torn up, and with the beds and bedding, hastily carried into the street opposite the building. By the time this work was completed, the east wing towered up a waving mountain of flames. Harter & Majors had just completed the sale of this hotel to Mr. A. H. Doane, of Danville, Illinois; but as the transfer had not yet been made, the loss falls upon the old proprietors.
The Lindell Hotel, adjoining the Central, soon gave way before the flames, though, as in the case of the Central, all the contents were carried out of reach of the fire.
The value of the buildings destroyed was between $10,000 and $11,000, with an insurance of only about $4,400.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1880.
Dr. Graham and his new partner, Dr. Parsons, have moved into their new office on the old Central Hotel grounds.
Arkansas City Republican, October 3, 1885.
The Winfield Central Hotel has again changed hands. J. A. McKibben, of this place, has bought out Majors & Robinson and has taken possession. We are sorry to see Sid Majors and Ivan Robinson retire. Their short hostship has changed things variously in the Central, giving it a bigger run in the last month than it has ever had before. Sid and family will remain in Winfield. He goes to spend a few weeks looking after his Arkansas City farm. Courier.
The REPUBLICAN adds that the county seat has gained a good citizen in Mr. McKibben. Howard & Collins were the sale agents.
Arkansas City Republican, August 27, 1886.
S. A. McKibben has closed up the Central Hotel and that building will again go back to mercantile pursuits. The city has outgrown it for a hotel. There are not rooms enough to back up the character of the tables. When the rush comes, the hotel was always filled by the first installment and the profits had to be turned off. Courier.
The above is a journalistic error characteristic of the Courier. The facts of the case are that Mr. McKibben=s hotel was too large for the city and he was daily sinking money, so he concluded to close the doors of his hotel and remove to Arkansas City, where life and energy and enterprise is depicted in every direction you may turn your eyes. In the past two months more than a dozen families have removed to Arkansas City from Winfield, and still they come.
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