The Valley Gleaner.
Lee, Mass., January 3,1867
OUR NEW HOTEL BURNED.
We hardly remember of any occurrence which has transpired in our town within the past fifteen or twenty years which afforded so much gratification to our whole community as that which gave us, just a year since, a first-class Public House; one which all felt pleased with, and to which we could introduce our fiends and strangers with great satisfaction. But just as we had become familiar with its beautiful appearance, and many of our citizens were learning to make it their home, it is swept away by the terrible devouring element.
About twenty minutes before 12 o’clock at noon, on Friday last, while our village was literally buried in snow, with our streets filled to a depth of between two and three feet, with only foot paths through them, the alarm of Fire was given with great earnestness. As people rushed into the streets to learn from whence it came, they discovedred smoke issuing from the cornice on the northwest part of the roof of the hotel, and the wind blowing in a direction to drive the fluames directly through the building. It was nearly or quite an hour before the engine company; with mumerous volunteers and two horses, werte able to get their engine to the fire, a distance of only a quarter of a mile, so deep was the snow; meantime citizens were busy in removing the furniture from the house and carriages and horses from the hotel could not be saved, and the attention of the company was therefore directed to saving the Congregational Church, a beautiful edifice costing over$30,000, and standing about fifty feet east of the hotel. The church was fortunately saved unharmed. The hose from the Housatonic mill, several hundred feet distant, was stretched out to the north end of the wing of the hotel, and great effort was there made to stop the fire from extending to the adjoining sheds and the barns; and this also was successful; but the hotel, three stories high, with a long L also three stories, was entirely destroyed, with much of its contents. A large portion of the furniture was saved, but in a damaged condition. The total loss is estimated at $15,000; insured for $10,000 - $7,000 on the building and $3,000 on the furniture.
Mr. R. D. Hicks, the proprietor, informs us that he had from fifteen to twenty regular boarders, and on Friday his rooms were nearly all filled by passengers from the train of cars delayed here, by laborers, and people driven in by the storm, and a wood fire had been built that morning in one of the upper rooms where a fire was seldom used, and he supposes a defect in the flue was the cause of the fire.
The basement rooms of the building were occupied by Messrs. Bullard & Hinkley, and Messrs. Nichols & Ingersoll, with meat markets, and by Mr. Ernest Laubsch, as a barber’s shop. Most of the contents of these rooms were removed, but Messrs. B & H lost about $100 worth of fixtures. They have re-opened under Mr. C. T. Bliss’ store, next north of the postoffice. The other meat market is removed to a building near the railroad depot. (Just a portion of the article) Courtesy of Peter J. Scolforo, Jr. of Fairview St.