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Despite bucket brigade work, fire destroyed Car Works Hotel

125 Years Ago, 1896

Taken directly from The Vindicator:

At an early hour Sunday morning, the Car Works Hotel at Mosier (Road), owned by Mrs. Margaret McCannon, was completely destroyed by fire. The building was a large one, comparatively new, and made a great blaze. Two daughters of Mrs. McCannon, who were sleeping in a room near where the fire originated, had a narrow escape from being suffocated, or burned to death, and so badly frightened was one of the young ladies that she has been seriously ill ever since.

It was about 1:30 o’clock Sunday morning when one of the boarders at the hotel was awakened and smelling smoke, started to investigate. Finding the building to be on fire, he awakened most of the occupants and went to the room occupied by the girls, and found it necessary to smash in the door before he could make them realize the danger that surrounded them. Meanwhile a bucket brigade had been formed by the guests at the hotel and the railroad men from the Erie yard nearby, and an alarm was sent to the Central Fire Department.

Despite the efforts of the bucket brigade, the flames spread and by the time the Chemical Engine, with four firemen, put in appearance after their long run, the building was practically destroyed. The firemen devoted their effort toward saving a barn in the rear of the premises and in this they were successful. As the burning building was situated outside of the water limits, no other of the fire apparatus than the Chemical answered the alarm. The building and all of its contents, with the exception of a piano, were completely destroyed.

A peculiar incident in connection with the fire was that Miles McCannon, one of the sons of the lady who owned the building, had been in Cleveland Saturday and was returning on the train that arrives in Youngstown at 2:30 am. When the train neared Mosier, he was startled to see a building in flames, and coming close to the conflagration, he was horrified to discover that the burning building was his own home. He attempted to have the conductor stop or slow the train, and upon the official refusing to do so, he could hardly be restrained from jumping from the swiftly moving car. Upon arriving in the city, Mr. McCannon mounted a switching engine near the depot and was quickly taken to Mosier. Quite a weight was removed from his mind when he was assured that all his relatives and friends were safe.”

40 Years Ago, 1981

An archeological dig at the Old Mill, Lanterman’s Mill, revealed some insightful early history. The mill had been part of Mill Creek Park’s property since 1892 and operated as a museum since 1933. A group of Youngstown State University students, led by John R. White, an anthropology professor, conducted the dig. They uncovered a number of long-hidden details, including the works of the original mill operation.

Vindicator feature writer Janie Jenkins wrote: “Surely the spirits of Youngstown’s early pioneers who built three separate mills near a waterfall on Mill Creek are watching with interest — and perhaps chuckles — as their primitive by expert labors are literally unearthed.” She added, “Seeing daylight after who knows how many years are the beginnings of the original millrace which at one time went through the lower story — under where the concrete steps now lead to the rocky ledge — to power the wooden water wheel.” The team worked to carefully remove yards and yards of dirt to uncover the stone wall of that race, which was likely cut around 1798 or 1799 by Abraham Powers and his son, Isaac.

Isaac Powers discovered the falls and worked with a crew to build the first four-log dam upstream from the mill. Isaac also served as the craftsman of the mill’s initial water wheel. By 1823, Eli and Homer Baldwin had built a second mill that was washed away. That was followed by German Lanterman and his brother-in-law, Samuel Kimberly, who built the current mill in 1844. Their operation ceased in 1888.

• Compiled from The Vindicator archives by Traci Manning, MVHS Curator of Education

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