Fire! Fire! Fire! Revisiting 1897

By Leah Tuckwiller

"Fire! Fire! Fire!" So said the headline of the top local story of The Greenbrier Independent on Thursday, August 5, 1897. "At ten minutes to five o'clock Tuesday morning, the 3rd [of August], the alarming cry of 'FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!' rang out upon the still morning air, and soon well night the entire population of the town, men and women, had gathered on Main Street to fight the most disastrous fire known in the history of our dead old town," read the opening lines. In Lewisburg, a town 117 years old and with a Civil War battle already behind it, that was no small thing.

Thirteen buildings were destroyed in the fire, which spread through town unchecked in the early August morning exactly 121 years ago today. Beginning with the Greenbrier CLothing House on Washington (then Main) street, the fire spread to D.R. Thomas' grocery store and J.W.A. Ford's stone storehouse east on Washington Street and the Bank of Greenbrier to the west, before rounding the corner onto Court Street and engulfing the Bank of Lewisburg, John N. Arbuckle's law office, and the law offices of John W. Harris and James C. McPherson on Court Street.

Read more in the Friday, August 3, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.


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