Democratic Watchman January 9 1885, page 8
"A fire broke out In the Episcopal church in this place on Tuesday forenoon last, caused by the gas igniting the evergreens that had been wound over and around the fixtures, the congregation expecting to use the electric light. But for some reason the electric current was not on that morning, and the gas had to be lighted. The flames ascended to the ceiling with fierceness and volume, and threatened the destruction of the whole interior of the building. Luckily, however, three ladies, who seem to have been engaged in the ornamentation of the church, were present, namely, Mrs. Robert and Mrs. Abram Valentine, and Miss Emily Natt. These ladies, although somewhat frightened, worked heroically to extinguish the fire, and succeeded before any great amount of damage was done. We understand that "Warren" did the hollowing, and so loud did be shout that be waked up our friend Tuten, of tbe Republicin, wbo thought there had been an earthquake."
Democratic Watchman January 18 1885, page 8
WHAT BELLEFONTE HAS
If there is anybody so incredulous as to believe that Bellefonte isn't much of a place, we beg leave to undeceive that said anybody by an enumeration of some of our institutions, good, bad and indifferent. First, then, Bellefonte has eight churches and Sabbath-schools, as follow: Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopalian, Reformed, Lutheran, Catholic, United Brethren and African M. E. Then it has six hotels, namely: Bush House, Brockerhoff House, Butts House, Garman's Hotel, Cummings House and Farmer's Inn. It has likewise three saloons and eating houses. Four school buildings, the Academy, the Public School House in which are ten schools; the colored school building on the hill, and the little building erected by private enterprise in a corner of the Public School grounds. Nineteen stores and groceries supply the wants of the town, while four drug stores furnish the medicines. It also takes four shoe stores to supply the foot-wear, and two furniture establishments to dress out the houses. There are three regular hardware stores end two tinware and stove store. There are two foundries, and three machine shops, and seven liveries. The best glassworks the State and nail-works that can't be beaten. We have two planing mills and one glass and bric-a-brac store. Two regular book and stationery stores, and one branching out in that direction. We have three, photographic establishments, and two excellent bakeries and confectioneries. Three first-class banks accommodate the mercantile and business needs, while two public halls satisfy the show business. Three printing offices, which issue four journals, minister to the intellectual and political and local appetites of our people, while two merchant tailoring establishments decorate the outside men.
Then we have two coach-makers and five cigar manufacturers with stores, and one regular tobacco store. There are three watch-making and jewelry stores, with five or six millinery and dress-making places, with law offices and doctor's offices and repair shops ad infinitum. Then we have the telegraph, the telephone, the electric light and the steam heat, with the necessary buildings. We have the greatest natural spring in the country, which supplies the town with water, discharging 15,000 gallons of water every minute. A beautiful stream, Spring Creek, divides the town into two sections, and we have extensive iron-works and rolling mills on all sides, with two agricultural implement stores, three coal yards and two grist mills. Two railroads have their termini here, and for months past we have had an establishment here experimenting in the making of steel. Oh, by the way we have a first-class roller rink, a place or two that are said to be of ill repute, and all the other things that naturally become part and parcel of a thriving city. Then we have the Court House and the Jail, but when it comes to talking of the latter, it is time to quit. So ta, ta."
Democratic Watchman February 13 1885, page 8
"STEAM LAUNDRY - The steam Laundry on Howard street, owned and operated by Mr. Thad. Hamilton and Mr. Linn Harris, started up on Tuesday last under the superintendence of the engineer Mr. Day, an accomplished machinist from New York. It seems to be perfect in all respects. There is the rotary washing-machine, the starching-machine, the cuff and collar ironer and the ironer for shirt-bosoms, these latter being fitted with heated rollers and the various articles to be ironed being fed into them something like clothes are fed into a wringer after being washed. Then there is the drying room and the ironing room - everything being fitted up-in the best style, with the steam heat, &c., vessels for heating water and everything complete. A half-dozen or more "washes" can be done at one time, the articles belonging to each family being numbered and the name and number being entered in a book and on slips and sorted out after the washing has been done. Thus, for instance, Smith's "wash" is no. 1, Jones's "wash" is no. 2, Brown's "wash" is no. 3, and so on. Each article in Smith's is numbered 1, each article in Jones's is numbered 2, and each in Brown's is numbered 3, in indelible ink. Thus no articles can get lost, and every family get its own clothes returned.
While all the washing and ironing is done principally by machinery, the laundry will give employment to three or four women, besides the proprietors. Everything is now ready for business, and the laundry wagon will be started out to gather up "washes" next week."
Democratic Watchman March 20 1885, page 5
CONSOLIDATION OF RAILROAD COMPANIES
"Papers merging and consolidating the Bellefonte and Buffalo Run Railroad Companies and the Nittany Valley and Southern Railroad Company were filed at the state department Monday. The officers and directors of the consolidated corporation, which will be known as the Buffalo Run, Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Railroad Company, are as follow: President, James A. Beaver; directors, Edward Blanchard, J. D Shugert, Frank McCoy, W H. Blair, Robert Valentine, C. A. Mayer, W. A. Wallace, G. D. Bush and Philip Collins; secretary and treasurer, John L. Kurtz."
Democratic Watchman, March 27, 1885, page 8
The Big Fire in Bellefonte
On Friday night last, which was one of the coldest and bitterest of the winter, with the wind blowing great guns, a fire broke out in the Brockerhoff stables, and speedily communicated with all the other buildings, stables and rat-holes in that section. This fire occurred in the early evening, say between eight and nine o'clock, and it was soon raging with an intensity that defied all efforts to extinguish it until all the old dry structures were consumed. Two horses belonging to the Brockerhoff family, valuable animals, were consumed by the flames, it being impossible for some reason to get the stable unlocked in to time to get them out. With them were also destroyed four or five vehicles and among them a carriage which cost $700.00. The horses and riggings belonging to the Brockerhoff Hotel were all gotten out, we believe, but the building was totally destroyed. The telephone and electric light poles in the alley were also on fire.
From the Brockerhoff stable the fire crossed the alley, and burned the stable on the opposite side, and close up to the rear of the Ammerman residence, which was saved by the greatest efforts. Everything else was wiped out in that locality. Crowds of people thronged to the scene of the conflagration, and the firemen worked like heroes, and often with great danger to life and limb. At last the flames, having burned down the most of the material, in their immediate vicinity, were gotten under control, and everybody supposed the conflagration was over, and many at once returned to their homes.
But it was not all over. Far from it. The Biggest Fire was yet to come, and the people of Bellefonte were doomed to see that portion of the town classically known as " Strycknine Corner," including all the business places from the Ammerman residence on Bishop street, to Loeb's store on Allegheny street, totally destroyed. This space included the Undine hose house; McClure's saddle and harness establishment; the Reynolds frame building, in which were the Cedars residence and the grocery store of Nicholas Bauer & Son, in the cellar of which the second fire started, about eleven o'clock. The Spangler, formerly the Brown frame block, fronting on Allegheny and Bishop, in which were Charles Brown's grocery, O'Brien's pool room and Jack Newson's restaurant, and the upper portion of which were occupied by several families. Reynolds's iron front and the opera house, in which the Reuben Spangler's furniture store and the Bee Hive dry goods establishment. Everything clear up to the Loeb building, where the flames came in contact with a fire wall, and their was checked.
So hot was it that the buildings on the other side of the street were scorched and the thick window glass in some of them broken. Sparks and embers blew in every direction, and at one time the Schrock and Miles residence on Bishop street were on fire. The Catholic church was on fire on two or three occasions, and at one time an unpleasantness occurred among the firemen and some of the citizens, caused by the latter seizing the hose to take it away from the main conflagration for the purpose of saving the church. The latter, however, was saved by ladders and buckets.
As remarked above, the night was fearfully cold, and the clothes of many of the firemen of the Logans and the Undine boys were frozen stiff. But still they worked on unmindful of themselves, and the intent only on saving the property endangered, or as much as possible. For their gallant efforts, which resulted in the saving of many buildings that would otherwise have burned, the fire-boys are entitled to the warmest thanks of our people. The firemen all worked like beavers, and it may seem invidious to make special mention when all did so nobly, but at the same time it is only just that we should do so. From all that we have been able to learn to Ed and Arty Brown and Amos Mullen belongs the main credit of having saved the Ammerman residence. They made herculean personal efforts to do this, and infused their own spirit into the men around them. Had it not been for the special efforts of these men that the comfortable home would most likely have been a heap of ashes today. There was so much on fire, so many buildings burning, that concentrated effort could not long be maintained in any one place, but they made that residence their object, and the result was that it was rescued entire.
Harry Jackson, first director of the Logan company, deserves much praise. He worked and fought flames like a Trojan, and directed the efforts of the company, doing much valuable service. Harry was in the employ of the Goldsmiths of the Bee Hive, and so unselfish was he in his efforts to save his employers' property, that he neglected his own wardrobe, among which were his best clothes. And all were destroyed. He could have left his post and saved them, but he would not do it. Like a hero he remained where duty called, until caused by general destruction to retire. Harry is a brave fellow and no mistake.
The efforts of many others could be specially commended, and among them, those of Thomas Shaughensy, President of the Logan company, William Hillbish, Secretary, Henry Haupt, John Sourbeck and others. The latter's overcoat caught fire while he was on top of the Brockerhoff hotel, and for a time we felt a little alarmed, lest we might have to record John as among the martyrs. But when a fellow hallooed to him from the street below, he quietly put it out and coolly turned again to his business.
Aid sent for
Telegrams were sent to Altoona, Tyrone and Lock haven for aid, but only the Tyrone company reached here, the order for the others being countermanded. The Tyrone boys arrived about two o'clock, and although the fire was under control then they rendered good service. Whiskey and beer flowed pretty freely during the night; in fact, to freely, and a good many fellows got tight, and some of them went to the lock-up in consequence. The services of the sheriff and the chief of police were required on occasions to keep order. However, the landlords ought not to be severely censured for this, as the night was fearfully cold, and many were half frozen. The excitement was great, and the dealers hardly knew whether to give out liquor or refuse it. Many stood in need of stimulants, while other got to much. But how were the landlords to distinguish? We are told that Mr. McCarty of the Farmers or Mrs. Howard's hotel, closed his doors when the fire first broke out and refused to sell or give liquor or beer to anybody. This was probably the better way, everything considered.
Engineer Ryan at the water works kept the pumps a jumping, and at no time were there less than eight feet of water in the reservoir. About 400,000 gallons were used to subdue the demon of the fire.
The total loss was somewhere in the neighborhood of $100.000, mostly covered by insurance, as follows:
Through J. A. Rankin & Son's Agency; T. R. Reynolds - $15,000; Bauer & Co - $3,200; Vanpelt & Spangler - $ 4,000; S. B. Spangler & Co - $3,000
Goldsmith Bros - $12,200; Joseph Bros - $1,300 - Total - $ 38,700
George Potter's agency: S. & A. Loeb- $5,000; Goldsmith Bros - $6,300; T. R. Reynolds - $3,000; Misses Ammerman - $300; J. H. McClure - $800; Total - $10,900
Through Bond valentine's Agency: Goldsmith Bros - $7,500; Joseph Ceadars - $750; C. Geiring - $400; J. Newson - $400; Total - $ 9,050
Grand Total $ 358,650
Democratic Watchman May 22 1885, page 4
COURT HOUSE REPAIRS
When the last grand jury sat down so heavily on the new court house proposition, it suggested the propriety of the Commissioners making some improvements on the old one in the way of cleaning up, repairing, painting, &c. The Bar Association at once appointed a Committee to suggest such improvements they considered necessary, and Wednesday the result of their deliberations were filed with the Commissioners. Some of their suggestions we presume the Commissioners will accept as necessary, but how nearly they will come to complying with all, we not know. The entire matter is with them and as they have proven themselves officials of good judgment and careful of the interests of the people, the tax-payers can rely upon the fact that there will be no tom-Foolery about the changes and repairs that will be made to the court house.
The following are the suggestions of the committee referred to:
To the Commissioners of Centre county, and the Members of the Bar Association:
The committee appointed by the Bar Association to recommend changes to be made in the interior of the court room, would respectfully suggest as follows :
First - To lower the Judges bench or platform, and make anew desk for the Judges, not so large and heavy looking as the present one.
Second - To take away the Clerk's desk and platform, and provide two new movable walnut desks,
Third - To cut a door from library room into rear hall.
Fourth - New sash and glass in windows in the entire building.
Fifth - New doors at main entrance of the court room to swing both ways. This is to be done only in case the other changes recommended by Mr. Tate are not adopted.