Incident Detail: 1906 Call No. 03
Call No. 3
Wiconisco Baptist Church
No Photo Available for This Incident
March 14, 1906
The Wiconisco First Baptist Church, located at the northwest corner of Pottsville and Spring Streets, was destroyed by fire on Wednesday, March 14, 1906. The fire started in the basement and was noticed around 5 p.m. A brisk east wind prevailed at the time, and residents feared a repeat of the conflagration which struck a couple of blocks away at the knitting mill on September 27, 1904. It was impossible to save the building and all efforts were made to prevent the fire from spreading to the row of homes to the west of the church. The only thing saved from the church was the pulpit Bible. Liberty Hose Company No. 2 responded from Lykens with both service carriages. There was little that could be done, as the force of the water was barely enough to push it through the nozzles. Bucket brigades were formed. The firemen took the carpets from Thomas Cole's residence, which was a short distance away, and placed them on the roof and sides of his home, saving it by keeping the carpets saturated with water. Superintendent Hood McKay also put a force of men at work running a line from one of the colliery pumps, which would have given sufficient force to fight a fire. But, the fire did not spread beyond the church, and work on the line was stopped as it neared the ruins. The loss of the building, furniture, organ, etc. was $7,000, which was only covered by insurance of $1,000. Rev. H.E. Hildt, pastor of the church of the Evangelical Association, offered the use of their house of worship to the Baptist congregation until their church was rebuilt.
The First Baptist Church was built in 1869 and was dedicated on January 1, 1870. In 1902, the building was completely renovated at a cost of $2,100. The mortgage for that work was paid off and a mortgage burning ceremony was held on December 31, 1905.
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