The fire of January 1, 1924 started in the Rosentreter and Bloy furniture store. About 11:45am, with the temperature below 20 degrees, the alarm went off summoning the fire department to the fire. Flames were leaping through upper floor windows and roofs by the time they arrived. Finding the local fire equipment inadequate, Mayor Wendlandt called Clintonville and Appleton for help. Appleton was delayed in arriving due to the snow blocked roads. The men fought the fire in 20 degree below zero temperatures for over 6 hours. Appleton finally arrived by train around 6:00 but the fire was mostly contained by then. Businesses, from Taft Park east to what is now El Tequila, were completely destroyed or damaged. A hose was dragged from Borden’s across the river to try and fight from the south, but because there was no alley way behind the buildings at the time, the fire was almost impossible to fight from that side. The men battled the fire for several hours and then resorted to using dynamite to stop it. The seven buildings destroyed housed Rosentreter and Bloy, Ben Andrew’s barbershop, Gust Sall’s soft drink parlor, Charles Hickey’s soft drink parlor, Krause Brother’s meat market, Mrs. Hopkins’ millinery and Schneider’s grocery store. The businesses damaged were: Hogan’s shoe store Faber’s jewelry store, Success Bakery, Swift Millinery, Fred Reuter’s cigar store and Morack’s repair shop. The Clintonville FWD Buffalo fire engine proved to be so effective that the city of New London ordered one two weeks later.

New London Public Museum

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