50th anniversary of the Artesian fire

On April 7, 1970, a fire, aided by 40- to 50-mile-an-hour winds, destroyed the Artesian business district. It was reported that the fire began just before 2:30 p.m. in the upper floor of Noell’s Department Store. The fire quickly spread, burning buildings and property on both sides of more than two blocks of main street. The fire made it to Highway 34, burned the service station, the two grain elevators and a large storage bin.

Fire departments from Artesian, Woonsocket, Letcher, Carthage, Howard and Mitchell worked together to fight the flames through the afternoon and the evening. A fire-watch was organized that included Artesian residents to monitor and prevent the fire from flaming up again.

The buildings destroyed or badly damaged included the former hardware building, theatre, recreation hall, bar, barbershop, café, American Legion building, launderette and an adjoining building. The homes of William Boocks and Ray Cunningham were also ruined by the fire. Buildings that were spared included the Livestock State Bank and the Artesian Improvement Co. building that housed the post office, the Northern States Power Co. offices and Milliken Funeral Chapel.

…Read on in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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