Postcard from the Past – $50,000 Fire Levels Truck Line Buildings
The top story in the Dec. 17, 1964 issue of “The Saratoga Sun” reads:
“Monday morning flames consumed the dock, office storage area and shop at the Saratoga Truck Line in downtown business section. In less than two hours, the blaze had leveled all but a small corner of the building facing the highway and a small hay storage building in the rear of the property.”
As was the case in the recent devastating fire in Dubois, most Wyoming small towns have faced the prospect of their historic downtown being burned to the ground.
Our last “Postcard” noted that Dubois is rebuilding with assistance from throughout the country. Help is still needed and may be provided by donating to the Dubois recovery. Donations can be sent to “Needs of Dubois,” with “Dubois Fire” in the memo, and mailed to PO Box 865, Dubois, WY 82513, or contact the Dubois Chamber of Commerce at 307-455-2556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 1964 “Sun” article continued, in part:
“The fire is believed to have started in a restroom near the middle of the building, where a small heater had been placed to thaw frozen water pipes.
“Owner Clarence Shaw estimated the loss at more than $50,000 including the building, small equipment, tires and freight that was stored in the building, tools and other equipment. The loss is partially covered by insurance. However, no trucks were lost, and most of the tools in the shop were saved. Office equipment and records from the office were rescued by firemen.
“Despite the loss…the Truck Line will continue to conduct its freight and express business as usual, with offices in the east side of the Range Theatre building and temporary dock facilities in the barn building spared by the blaze.
“Miraculously, the Masonic hall adjoining the Truck Line and Stan’s Garage across the alley…were saved, mostly by diligent efforts of the Saratoga Volunteer Fire Department and towns people.”
Surrounding fire units and more than 50 volunteers fought the blaze in high wind and freezing temperatures.
“Future plans as to when and where a new dock will be built are indefinite…”
A local historian noted that a portion of the building was erected about 1890 as a livery stable and feed store.
According to an item in the May 3, 1900 Saratoga Sun, “Dave Richmond has commenced the erection of a story and a half addition, 40 by 60 feet, to his livery stable on First Street…(it) will be divided into stables, carriage house, office with sleeping rooms above and a place for washing buggies. The building will be of frame construction and will be joined on the south end of the Masonic hall.”