The Fire Fiend
Headline from the weekly Caledonia "Advertiser" describes a major fire that destroyed much of the village's commercial district and the Moss House hotel in 1891. The story goes on to enumerate some of what was lost: "The fire cleaned out two groceries, one with a stock of boots and shoes, one hardware and tin shop, a barber shop, pool room, two dressmaking establishments, one dentist, one law office, two drug stores, one saloon, two hotels, a shoeshop, three private dwelling places, two livery barns, one tailor shop, one boarding house, and one jewelry shop. What village of this size in western New York has suffered a like loss? It was all done in three hours’ time." Due to several other suspected cases of arson in the prior year, the newspaper raised that question again and criticized the as-yet unincorporated village's fire department. Within a few short months a charter had been approved, the block had been rebuilt, and the arson attacks continued.
Caledonia Advertiser 12 Feb. 1891: 3 Courtesy Tom Tryniski / Fulton History
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