Caddo, Oklahoma...
Sunday, January 26, 2020
The antique town on a buffalo trail.

A Glimpse of the Past- Caddo's Great Fire

In 1900 a fire ravaged downtown Caddo and destroyed 21 of the original wood-frame buildings. It also killed Mr. George Ahrens and financially devastated many business owners who didn’t have fire insurance.

The fire started at about 9pm on Monday, November 19 and burned almost the entire block of buildings on the north side of East Buffalo street, directly across the street from the Nail Hotel and W. H. Ainsworth’s dry goods store.

The fire started in or under F.S. Harvey’s grocery store, but an exact cause was never determined. Mrs. Powers, who ran a restaurant east of Harvey’s store smelled smoke and heard a strange noise. The alarm was sounded and citizens rallied to fight the fire. It was evident that the block in which the fire originated was doomed and all attempts to stop the flames in that block would be useless. Effort was therefore concentrated on saving as much stock in the surrounding businesses as possible and keeping the buildings in the block to the west from burning.

The fire was under control in just over an hour, helped by a heavy downpour of rain, but the losses still totaled over $14,000.

Mr. Ahrens was a shoemaker who lived in the back of the Harvey building. His body was discovered the day after the fire. Witnesses recalled hearing him say he needed to go back to the building to get his money, but there was a lot of confusion during the fire and no one could remember seeing him actually enter the building.

A complete story of the fire is in the November 23, 1900 issue of the Caddo Herald.