Throwback Thursday: railroad depot fire seen from miles away

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On October 26, 1914, a headline in the Rochester Daily Bulletin read, “All Rochester Threatened Sunday When Elevator and Adjacent Buildings Burn.”

Crews struggled to fight the blaze consuming the grain elevator at the Chicago and North Western railroad depot, located in the middle of what is now Civic Center Drive.

The fire department’s efforts to put out the elevator blaze were hampered by strong winds from the northwest. The blaze was so bright, it could be seen in Owatonna and Lewiston, and attracted onlookers for miles around.

More than a day after it started, the fire was finally extinguished. Fortunately, no lives were lost in this, as the paper phrased it, “most perilous blaze ever combated by the Rochester fire department.”

Jacob Murphey

Jacob Murphey

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