Fire of 1883

On the night of May 9, 1883, a fire consumed nearly half the business center of Vienna.

The fire was first reported on the front page of the Thursday Evening Edition of the Warren Daily Chronicle on May 10, 1883 with the headline: "A fierce blaze consumes nearly half the business center of Vienna. $14,500 worth of property reduced to ashes." The article described the disastrous fire at Vienna Center that destroyed nine buildings estimated with a total worth of $14,500. The fire originated in a building owned by M. A. (Michael Anthony) Quilty. The same article was reprinted in the Western Reserve Chronicle on May 16, 1883.

Transcript of the May 10, 1883 Warren Daily Chronicle article:

The red light in the east, seen from Warren last night, proves to have been the glare of a disastrous fire at Vienna Center, resulting in the total destruction of nine buildings of more or less value. A DAILY CHRONICLE reporter who visited the locality this morning, obtained the following reliable information:

The fire originated in a barn owned by M. A. Quilty, in the rear of the store belonging to the same gentleman, but occupied by Messrs. Carey & Bowman, who conducted a general merchandise business.

It was first discovered about seven o'clock, and spread with such rapidity as to place everything in its immediate course at the mercy of the flames. The store building was soon in a blaze. Fortunately the wind, which was blowing in a northeast direction, was light, thus preventing a general destruction of the village. As it was, the buildings on the north side of the street were several times on fire, but the perseverance of the citizens saved them, and confined the fire to the south side of the street.

The second building burned was owned by John Blunt, of Youngstown, and occupied by J. L. Russell as a postoffice, notion store and residence. The postoffice matter was substantially all saved, but Mr. Russell met with almost a total loss of his merchandise, household goods and wearing apparel. His entire loss will reach about $700, upon which there was no insurance. This disaster falls heavily on Mr. Russell, who, in his efforts to save the postoffice property, lost all his own. He should receive the substantial aid of his neighbors.

S. L. Johnson's store, barn and grain house were next consumed. Fortunately during the day of the fire, Mr. Johnson had moved nerly (sic) all his stock of merchandise to the room formerly occupied by Mr. Pound. His loss on merchandise and some accounts, not yet removed, is about $250.

Continuing with unrestrained fury, the flames soon leveled the residence of A. U. Bartholomew, and the buildings in the rear. Mr. Bartholomew succeeded in saving nearly all his household goods. At this point a favorable wind and the exertions of citizens, stayed the destructive flames, saving the residence of Dr. Williams.

The origin of the fire is a mystery. The citizens worked with untiring zeal to save the property of the unfortunate ones, bringing every available resource into action.

The losses and insurance so far as we were able to learn, are as follows: Carey & Bowman, loss on stock from $6,000 to $7,000; insurance $5,000. M. A. Quilty, on buildings, $3,000; insured in Adam's Agency for $1,400. J. L. Russell, loss on merchandise, $500, and on household goods, &c. (etc.), about $200; no insurance. John Blunt, loss on buildings, $1,000; no insurance. S. L. Johnson, loss on building, $200; no insurance. A. U. Bartholomew, loss on building, $2,000; insured for $1,200. The total loss is estimated at about $14,500, mostly covered by insurance.

Warren Daily Chronicle, May 10, 1883

The fire consumed buildings on the southeast corner of Vienna center:
1. Rogers Hotel (unharmed)
2. Carey & Bowman's store (building owned by M. A. Quilty)
3. John Russell, Post Office & taylor shop (building owned by John Blunt)
4. Johnson's grocery store
5. A. Bartholomew's building (referred to as the Mackey store building)
6. Dr. Williams' office (unharmed)

A, A, A, etc - Barns
* Barn where fire originated

To view the article from the May 10, 1883 Warren Daily Chronicle, click here.

Coverage of the fire appeared in other local publications:

Western Reserve Democrat, May 11, 1883, page 5.
Warren Daily Tribune, May 15, 1883, page 5.
Warren Constitution, May 15, 1883, page 3.

News of the fire was reported in newspapers as far away as western Illinois. The following article appeared on the front page of the Rock Island Argus:

Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois), May 10, 1883.

In the weeks after the fire, citizens affected by the disaster expressed their gratitude:

Western Reserve Chronicle, May 30, 1883, page 1.
Western Reserve Chronicle, June 6, 1883, page 5.

According to an article in the Western Reserve Chronicle dated May 9, 1883, a basket festival was planned at Quilty's Hall on May 16, 1883:

Western Reserve Chronicle, May 9, 1883, page 5.
Updated 1/07/2023
This entry is adapted from James Bradley, "Vienna Time Line" in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), p. 7. Additional research by Christine Novicky, 2020.
"A fierce blaze consumes nearly half the business center of Vienna," Warren Daily Chronicle, Mary 10, 1883, page 1.
Additional local newspaper coverage:
Western Reserve Chronicle, 16 May 1883, page 5.
"Vienna." Western Reserve Chronicle, 16 May 1883, page 1.
Western Reserve Chronicle, 16 May 1883, page 1.
M A. Quilty's Find a Grave memorial may be found here.