Fire Destroys Lester Landmark
89-Year-Old Building Burns

An 89-year old Lester, Iowa landmark burned on May 22, 1981. The building was used as a warehouse by Ageson Interiors Ltd. It burned in a little over an hour. Winds of 15 to 20 mph. hindered firefighters efforts. Brown smoke from the fire could be seen for seven miles.

The alarm was turned in between 4 and 4:30 p.m. and the fire was under control by 5:30, according to Lester Fire Chief Bob Gerber.

Firefighters from six communities aided the Lester Fire Department and although the warehouse was a loss they were able to save a house and county garage on either side of the burning building.

The loss was estimated at $70,000 for the furniture including $10,000 worth of antiques and $15,000 for the building, according to Gerber. The owner of the warehouse, Harold “Swede” Ageson, said it was insured.

Built in 1892, the building was an opera house and later a dance hall. People at the scene said they remembered the Rosebud Kids band performing in the building. Ageson owned it for 10 years. It was one of three warehouses used by his business.

Fire companies from Iowa responding to the call include Rock Rapids, Larchwood, Alvord and Inwood. Beaver Creek and Hills fire departments came from Minnesota to help.


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