HOME - Front Page
Heritage \ Writings \

Fire at Bousfield & Co. (1881)
Bay City, Michigan.
  • Transcribed April 2007.
  • Bay City Tribune - October 8, 1881.

    A $10,000 FIRE.

    Bousfield & Co., of the Seventh Ward the Principal Losers.

    An alarm of fire was sounded from box 34 at the Seventh ward engine house shortly after 5 o’clock last evening, for what proved to be a serious conflagration, destroying property to the extent of about $10,000.

    The fire was confined to the large pail stave sheds belonging to Bousfield & Co., wooden ware manufacturers, on a whole square bounded by Thirty-third, Thirty-fourth, Webster and Taylor streets in the Seventh ward. The blaze started in the northeast corner of lot and owing to the brisk south west wind then blowing rapidly assumed alarming dimensions. The alarm brought out all companies of the department including the fire tug C. M. Farrar, but before a stream could be laid one of the sheds and a small Polish boarding house situated in the northeast corner lot, operated by one Mochinsky, were in flames. The department brought into use all its hose, laying three 1,200 feet streams from hydrants on Water street and Broadway, and one of 1,500 feet from the tug Farrar on the river. The immense piles of dry slabs on the north side of Thirty-third street owned by Miller & Lewis were threatened with destruction and all streams were kept playing on them, thus adverting a fire, that no one knows when it would have ended. Following the destruction of Mochinsky’s house which was worth about $100, came that of another Pole named Gochelensky, situated directly west. This home was worth about $100. The residence of Charles Keenan on the corner of Webster and Thirty-third streets, owned by Medor Trombley, and worth $150 was next burned. None of the household goods of the dwelling were destroyed.

    The fire having swept the northern portion of the lot, gradually crept back against the wind. The firemen took positions in the rear, and there fought the flames until 12 o’clock last night., when two taps went over the wires, and were sounded on the several gongs, conveying the information that the fire was subdued. When The Tribune reporter left the scene at 10:30, seven sheds and their contents had been reduced to ashes. Mr. Bousfield was on the spot but would give no one any intelligence regarding the loss or insurance. The Tribune, however, was fortunate enough to learn from an authentic source that the amount of pail staves destroyed would reach five thousand cords. They were worth about $2 per cord which with the sheds and the three dwellings would make a loss of at $10,000. The staves were partially burned.

    There were numerous reports rife regarding the origin of the fire. The one given most credence was to the effect that some small children were playing in the staves and had accidently set them on fire.

    The loss will fall heavily on Bousfield & Co. The staves destroyed were stored on the lot for winter use when it would be impossible to get logs for their manufacture from the frozen river.

    Related Notes & Pages

    Bousfield Factory
    (click to enlarge)

    The company closed in 1916 and the property was sold to the Hanson-Ward Veneer Co. (See: Bio. of Franklin Ward)

    Bousfield & Co. History
    A.E. Bousfield, Bio. 1892
    A.E. Bousfield, News 1937
    People Referenced
    Bousfield, Alred
    Keenan, Charles
    Trombley, Medor
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City
    Bousfield & Co.
    Fire tug C.M. Farrar
    Miller & Lewis Co.
    Pail staves
    Polish boarding house
    Seventh ward
    The Tribune
    Woodenware mfr.
    Other News In Paper
    A young son of Timothy Sheenan, residing on Twenty-ninth between Polk and Taylor streets, narrowly escaped serious injry, about 5 o'clock Thursday afternoon, by jumping off the platform of a moving street car. He and two other lads, while on their way home from school, climbed on the rear platform of the car for the purpose of stealing a ride, and when they jumped off at the corner of Water and Twenty-ninth streets young Sheenan slipped and fell headlong on the plank. He was picked up in an insensible condition, and carried into J. Danie's grocery store, where he regained consciousness and recovered sufficiently to make his way home. The other boys fortunately escaped unhurt. This accident will possibly be the means of making the boys desist from the dangerous practice of jumping on and off the moving street cars.
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.