Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Hiram M. Chittenden Patsy Collins Gordon Hirabayashi Home William Boeing
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week Book Store Donate Now
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6852 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search

Features

Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Fire guts Times and Denny buildings at 2nd Avenue and Union Street in Seattle on February 13, 1913.

HistoryLink.org Essay 3916 : Printer-Friendly Format

On February 13, 1913, the printing plant of The Seattle Times at 2nd Avenue and Union Street is gutted by fire. The adjoining Denny Building also suffers major damage. No lives are lost but businesses suffer a combined loss of $400,000. The cause of the fire is never determined.

Where There’s Smoke…

The fire started shortly before 4:00 a.m. Newsboys sleeping and hanging out on the stoop of the building were the first to see smoke, and one called in an alarm while the others warned those inside. The alarm was sounded at 3:57 a.m., and firefighters arrived within 19 minutes.

By then, flames engulfed the upper floors of the four-story building. A 4-11 alarm was sounded which brought in fire companies from around the city. Nine engines, 3 trucks, 2 chemical companies, 1 tower, and 23 hoses were used to fight the flames.

Three hours later the Times Building and Denny Building were a shambles. Everything above the second floor in the Times Building was destroyed, and the bottom floors were flooded. The Denny building suffered severe damage in its top floors. Its roof was gone.

Hot Off the Press

The Seattle Times presses were in the basement, but were damaged by water. Until their repair, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer chipped in and offered the services of their presses. That evening’s edition of the Times made it out on time.

Editors and reporters suffered greatly. All of their notes, photographs, and records had burned to ashes, and their typewriters, printing supplies, and typesetting machines were blobs of twisted metal. Insurance covered the loss of equipment, but the loss of files going back to 1881 was incalculable.

Other businesses suffered also. George Bartell of the Bartell Drug company lost $75,000 worth of overstock that was stored in the Denny Building. Architects Bebb & Mendel lost plans for new buildings, as well as an extensive library.

The cause of the blaze was never determined. Times managing editor C. B. Blethen hinted that the fire may have been caused by radicals, and used the fire to fan the flames of red-baiting patriotism. A large sign was placed on the wrecked building, claiming that the American flag flew over the building throughout the fire, and that “no jealous attack could injure the Times standard.”

Sources:
“Flames Wreck Times Plant; Fire Causes $400,000 Loss,” The Seattle Times February 13, 1913, pp. 1-3; “Loss in Times and Denny Block Fire $247,000,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer February 14, 1913, p. 8; Sharon A. Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy, Raise Hell and Sell Newspapers: Alden Blethen & The Seattle Times (Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 1996), 215-217.


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Business | Media |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Seattle Times fire at 1408 2nd Avenue, February 13, 1913
Courtesy UW Special Collections


 
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org