The Great Milton Fire of 1909

August 9, 2022

Disaster struck in Milton the morning of Aug. 13, 1909. A fire was discovered about 1 a.m. by the night watchman of the Royal Packing Company at the corner of Federal and Front streets. Firefighters responded, aided by residents, but they couldn’t contain it and it spread to other buildings. In total, 18 buildings burned in the downtown area.

According to the Milton Fire Department, the list of stores and other properties destroyed includes Markel & Hartman’s store, W.T. Starkey’s Store, Mason & Davidson’s Grocery, the post office, the telephone exchange, C.A. Conner’s General Store, Black & Lingo Store, Carey & Darby’s Store, J.H. Walls’ Meat Store, Hall & Stevens Store, Mary E. Field’s Store, First National Bank, the Ponder House Hotel, W.H. Mears: Barber Shop and residence, J.B. Gram’s residence, J.C. Clendaniel’s Meat and Provision Store, and S.J. Wilson & Sons Undertaking and Furniture Store. 

The devastation covered several blocks and took only four hours to burn. There were only two injuries reported, as one man broke his arm while helping to move the safe out of the Ponder Hotel and another was slightly burned. In an article published Aug. 14, 1909, by the Morning News, it’s reported Wilford White, son of the prothonotary, N. Wallace White, was injured when the safe containing $2,200 toppled onto him during the attempt to get it out of the burning hotel. The total estimated loss was $100,000 for the 18 buildings.


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