FIRE WAS THE CRY!
A windy dry day in the thirties
when fire threatened the whole town.
Nature and mechanical failure conspired Wednesday, May 16, 1934 to produce a disastrous Doon fire.
The definite cause of the blaze was unknown but speculation fixed the blame on a faulty belt slipping on its drive pulley. The resulting friction produced sparks which ignited the surrounding dust particles.
Six fire companies were called to the scene from Rock Rapids, Sioux Center, and Hull, Rock Valley, Alvord and Inwood. They assisted the Doon firemen in containing the fire. This was a heroic effort considering there was an extremely strong southwesterly wind. It was blowing the flames and embers directly toward the part of Doon from its origin in the Farmer's Elevator Company.
Besides the elevator, which was a total loss, many other homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Among these were Schoeneman Brothers Coal and Cement Sheds, the old livery barn owned by First National Bank, tools and truck belonging to Aardema Brothers, OK Cafe building, the Doon Auto Company Annex, Penning and Scholten Insurance and Real Estate Office, and the roofs of Henry Ver Maas home, Woodman Hall, and C.F. Krueger garage.
For a while it was feared that the whole town might go and school was dismissed accordingly. As in the case of many a crisis the citizens of Doon and neighboring towns rose to the occasion and a more tragic disaster was avoided. Few injuries were reported resulting from the hectic day and Marshall Harm Kolthoff stayed at his post at the city well to make sure of the water supply. The American Legion members and the Doon Firemen kept vigil through the following night to prevent the start of any new fires. At appropriate times lunch was served by members of the Mayflower Guild of the Congregational Church. Doon could be proud of its citizens and thankful of its helpful neighbors and its fine city well.
In the weeks following most of the victims who had property losses announced their plans to rebuild. However, Mr. Albert Hauk, the former owner, reversed his decision about rebuilding the Doon Elevator and moved to a farm he purchased near Correctionville, Iowa. This left the way clear for some interested outside party and by December of the same year Quaker Oats Company had moved the St. Paul and Omaha (J.H. Peavy) Elevator to the burned out site. T.W. Young built the elevator in 1879, when Doon became the southern terminal of the new railroad. Power for the moving operation was furnished by a team of mules. The elevator at Lakewood was torn down and the lumber used to help rebuild the old elevator.
Doon had survived another trying ordeal with few permanent scars and although struggling, managed to stay on its feet.
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