Real Photo Postcards (Page 5)

McInnes Block In Flames - 1879

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Street Car Enroute to Car Shed After Encourter With Mob During Strike
November 1906 Hamilton Street Railway Strike
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Radial Offic Showing Damage Done by Mob During The Strike
Postmarked December 2, 1906

House On Hunter St. Riddled By Mob During The Strike

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The Railway Accident at Mineral Springs

The T. H. & B. Railway Train disaster occurred on September 28, 1908.  According to the Toronto Globe "The lamentable accident at the bridge west of Mineral Springs was due solely to fire, which burned the floor system and piling between the passage of the light engine at 11:40 on Saturday night and the arrival of train No. 60 at eight minutes after 6 a.m. Sunday.  (29 September 1908)

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The Railway Accident at Mineral Springs

The bridge was forty-five feet in length, consisting of three openings, and was standard construction for wooden trestles. and had a large factor of safety beyond that which would safely carry the heaviest engine or car loading run on this line....Following the engine, were three box cars loaded with apples and onions, and flatcars loaded with gravel.  The loading seven cars were piled on top of the engines, burying the tree occupants.  The debris caught fire from the burning bridge and fire in the engine...." (29 September 1908)

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Fire at R. McKay & Co.

The fire at McKay's Department store occurred on February 17, 1914.  According to the Toronto Globe: "A fire that did damage that is variously estimated at from $250,000 to $350,000...broke out this morning in the department store of R. McKay & Company on King street east. After a hard fight of an hour and a half Chief TenEyck and his men succeeded in getting it under control and in confining it to the building in which it started. It was feared for a time that it would spread to adjoining buildings and that the entire block was doomed.  Fortunately, there was no wind at the time and the firemen attacked the fire with vigor and won great praise for their efforts.  

 

It was about 8 o'clock when the fire was discovered and at that time the top floor was a raging furnace, and flames were beginning to burst through the roof.  The cause is not known, but it is thought to have resulted from defective wiring or a gas heater that was in the millinery department on the top floor. Judging by the start the flames had, it had been burning for some time before it was discovered, though the watchman stated that he had been all the through the building a short time before the fire was noticed and saw no sign of it.  The firemen soon had hoisted ladders and from these poured water into the burning mass, from which great clouds of smoke were arising...." (18 February 1914)
Real Photo Post Card by Ellis 
Postmarked February 23, 1914

Grafton's Fire - Feb. 12th 1917

According to the Globe: "Fire did damage to the extent of about $150,000 to-night to the Grafton & Company's clothing store, 16 James street north, almost opposite the City Hall. The company carried insurance for about half that amount. The fire was discovered about 8:45 p.m. and had a big start. The flames had broken through the roof, and illuminated the whole block. At first it looked, with the wind blowing a hurricane, that nothing would save the block, which is one of the most valuable in the heart of the city Chief Ten Eyck and his men were warmly congratulated on their good work in practically confining the fire to one building, though little is left of that building, which ran from James street for more than two hundred feet to an alleyway beside the Times building".  (The Globe, 13, February 1917)

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Fire Fighting Below Zero

"One of the greatest aids to the firemen was the fire wall on the Stanley Mills building. Colonel J. J. Grafton estimated his loss at about $125,000 to $150,000. Little is left but ice-covered walls....Fortunately the roofs were covered with snow and the buildings did not ignite. The fire started in the upper part of the four story front section of the Grafton building, and its origin is a mystery...." (The Globe, 13, February 1917)

Photo by Ellis Studio

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Fire Fighting Below Zero

Photo by Ellis Studio

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Grafton's Fire  Below Zero

Photo by Ellis Studio

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After the Fire at Grafton's - Feb 1917 - Below Zero

Hardwick Photo

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Grafton's Fire, Feb. 12-13, Below Zero

Photo by Ellis Studio

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Grafton's Fire Feb. 12/17

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Grafton's Fire

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Grafton's Fire

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Lister Block Fire

This Million Dollar fire occurred on February 23, 1923.  According to the Toronto Globe: "Long feared as a fire-trap, the Lister Building at King William and James streets, one of the oldest in the city and of obsolete construction, was the scene of Hamilton's most destructive fire at 2:30 o'clock this morning. The building was completed gutted. The McKay Block, adjoining it, was badly damaged. (24 February 1923)

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Lister Block Fire - Feb. 23, 1923

Twenty retail merchants and over 100 tenants lost all the contents of their places of business. The total damage is estimated to be at least one million dollars. Over one-half on this sum is covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is unknown. Discovery of the fire was made by a constable patrolling his beat at 2:37 a.m. He turned in an alarm without delay, but when the firemen arrived, within five minutes, they found the building doomed. Flames were shooting through the roof of the fire-story structure and the blaze had apparently gathered great headway before being noticed. (The Globe, 24 February 1923)

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Lister Block Fire

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Lister Block Fire

"Every available foot of hose in the department was laid and within 15 minutes after the alarm was first given no less than 15 streams of water were played on the fire. The aerial truck, the purchase of which had been termed 'ornamental' by some civic fathers, was employed to advantage. It was raised to a height of over 50 feet and several streams were played from it on the blazing roof. Water, however, appeared to have no effect on the fierce flames and within a short time the roof and floors of the doomed building collapsed one after another." (The Globe, 24 February 1923)

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Lister Block Fire

"From then until about 9 o'clock this morning the firemen confined their efforts to checking the fire from spreading to adjacent properties.  Only prompt work by the fire-fighters prevented the McKay Block from being gutted to the same extent as the Lister building. Had a high wind been blowing it is feared a large portion of Hamilton's downtown district would have fallen prey to the flames." (The Globe, 24 February 1923)

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At the Lister Fire - Feb. 23/23

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Lister Block Fire - Feb. 23/23

The retail merchants who suffered heavily were; Begg & Company, clothiers, $60,000; Gerrie's Drug Store, $15,000, E. G. Tucker, tailor, $5,000, Tait Optical Company, $30,000; Smith-Morton Opitcal Company, $55,000; Model Cloak Company, $37,000, Fong Young, restaurant $35,000..." (The Globe, 24 February 1923)

Hardwick Photo

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At the Lister Fire - Feb. 23/23

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Lister Block Fire - Feb. 23/23

Written on the back: "Corner of King William & James. Note 'Sensational Yes Sir"

that had been up a week it was announcing a sale"

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Million Dollar Fire, February 23, 1923

 "There was no loss of life resulted from the fire is considered remarkable in view of the fact that there were several apartment dwellers in the building. Constable Goold and other policemen rescued an old man from a fire-escape who was hanging there in a death grip, with flames speedily approaching him. Questioned by The Globe tonight, Joseph Lister said that it was difficult to estimate the loss. He thought the damage to the building would be at least $500,000...

Hardwick Photo

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Market Hall After Fire South End

"The Central Market Hall caught fire to-night about 11:30 and was completely destroyed. How the fire started is not known, but when it was first seen it was realized that it was impossible to save the building, as it was a raging furnace, the entire roof being aflame, and within fifteen minutes after the alarm had been sent in it collapsed.  Many butchers had stalls in the building and the meats and produce are a total loss.  

 

The chief losers were the Fowlers Canadian Co., John Duff & Son, Will J. Lord, W & B. Bessey, T. J. Tshann, Armour & Son, Seift Canadian Co. Will. J. Lord's stall, near which the fire is believed to have started, contained a large tank of ammonia, which is expected to explode unless the firemen can reach it. Several minor explosions, believed to have been caused by other smaller ammonia tanks, used for refrigerating purposes, were heard just before midnight. By 1 o'clock the fire was well under control, but the building and contents will be a total loss, estimated at $85,000.  

 

The Market Hall was built in 1886. Seventeen pieces of fire apparatus were in action, and more than twenty lines of hose were used." (The Globe, 11 December 1917)  Photo by Ellis Studio

Photo by Ellis Studio

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