CyPix: Call the Fire Brigade!

This week is Fire Prevention Week. On campus, we have had a few fires over the years, most famously those of Old Main (yes, there was more than one fire in that building). After the first fire in 1900, it was repaired. However, a second fire struck in 1902 that completely destroyed the building. Beardshear Hall was built in Old Main’s place in 1908, and remains there to this day. The photo below shows Old Main on fire in 1900.

Old Main on fire, 1900. [insert collection #]

Old Main on fire, 1900. University Photographs, RS 4/8/I

The circular marks on the photo look to be water damage-related, but I like this version of the photo (there is another in our collections) because not only is the writing much more readable, but the shadowy image of a man in a hat is much more visible here. Most likely it’s a man looking on and the light from the fire created the strange appearance in the photo, but of course my first thought was “ghost.” The most important feature of the image, of course, is the blaze that destroyed the north wing of Old Main. After the building was completed, it was discovered that the building plans contained no provision for water, lighting, heat, or drainage. Poor Old Main was doomed from the beginning.

To prevent something like this from happening to your property, a list of safety tip sheets are provided online by the National Fire Protection Association. Stay safe!

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