Bundy House Hotel and Livery Stable Burn To the GroundNew Castle Courier
-May 3, 1889-
The citizens of New Castle were called out about 3 o'clock last Friday morning to witness the most disastrous fire that has ever visited this city. When first discovered the fire was burning n the roof of the Bundy House livery stable, owned and operated by Charles Bundy. The fire spread rapidly and soon communicated with the inflammable matter in the barn, and gained such headway that the efforts of the fire company to subdue it were in vane, and the entire building was soon wrapped in flames. The barn contained a large amount of grain and hay, which was consumed, besides a number of vehicles. But the most serious loss in the destruction of the stable was the burning of a number of horses. There were thirty-eight head of horses stabled in the barn, eight of which were consumed by the fire, besides three badly injured. Five of the horses burned belonged to Beouy & Sheplar, who had a carload of horses ready for shipment; two belonged to Charles Bundy, and the eighth was Alman L. Bowman's family driving horse, which he was boarding in the barn.
The great heat from the burning barn soon endangered other property, and a light breeze from the north carried the flames across the alley, setting fire to the fine residence of judge Mellett. This for a time attracted the attention of the firemen and it was feared that the building would have to go. But the wind soon veered to the west and the danger was averted, the woodhouse and fencing being burned and the cornice of the dwelling badly scorched. But all this time the fire was progressing toward the Bundy House, owned by Frank Bundy, which was connected by sheds and fencing to the barn. A bucket brigade had been organized, and the roof and rear of the hotel protected as much as possible, but soon the cornice took fire, and despite the efforts of the fire company the flames spread rapidly over the building. Owing to its great height, the fire department was unable to render effective aid, and the destruction of the fine hotel became evident. Coming as it had from the rear and roof of the building, the guest in the hotel, of which there was a large number, all escaped without injury, and considerable contents of the hotel were removed. Slowly but surely the fire spread throughout the building, and the streams of water poured in upon the flames by the fire company had no appreciable effect. The scene was a very exciting one as the guest crowded into the street and mingled with the throng of citizens, who stood helplessly by and watched the destruction of one of the finest buildings and the best businesses in the in the city. The fire slowly descended from the roof, where it started, to the ground floor, and in less than two hours from the time the fire was discovered the barn and hotel were in ruins, with nothing left but the smoking walls of the large hotel (see photo http://www.hcgs.net/bundyhouse.html) the east wall of which came crashing to the ground about 9 o'clock in the morning.
Probably no fire in this city ever caused more universal regret than the destruction of this property. The Bundy boys', after years of hard labor, had built up a business of which they might be proud and which was of great benefit to the town, and its destruction is not only a financial calamity to them, but a serious loss to the community.
Charles Bundy had insurance amounting to $2,125 on his barn and its contents. He received in the settlements with the insurance companies $1,450. His net loss on stock and fixtures, etc., not covered, is about $550.
The Bundy Hotel was a three-story brick structure, furnished in good style, and had the reputation of being one of the best hostelries in this part of the State. Considerable of the contents of the hotel were removed and but slightly damaged, but the building is a total wreck. The building was insured for $7,000; $1,000 in the Franklin, $1,000 in the Concordia; $2,500 in the London, Liverpool and Globe and $2,500 in the Queen Co. and the contents for $2,500 in the Royal. The adjusters have been here this week, and the final estimates and settlements were made yesterday. The insurance on the building was paid in full, and loss on the contents was adjusted at $1,700. The appraisement on the building was $8,500, making a net loss of $1,500. A barn and other outbuildings belonging to Frank Bundy, on which there were no insurance, were also destroyed, making his net loss about $2,500.