Forgotten Trails: Stories of downtown fires continue

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2007

By Staff
I didn't have room for the entire story in last week's column. In order to get the photograph in we opted to stretch it out for another week. I'll continue where I left off.
The first time I saw the water basin was a couple of weeks ago. Members of the Historical Society gathered in the basin and enjoyed snacks at the old home of the Martins. I might add that the only thing I found misleading in the story was the placement of the spring basin. It is actually not in the Martin front yard (at least not today). You have to walk down a little road and it is near the railroad track where trains still come by on a regular basis. I hope you enjoyed this story by Edley Franklin. I have really become a fan of his. I met his daughter at the meeting at Herrington and she said she has other writings her father did.
I was going through another bound volume that we have here at the office. This time it was the 1949 book. I ran across an article that happened Thursday, Oct. 20, of that year. It was another fire in downtown Brewton and was described as a huge fire that destroyed the S.M. (Sam) Parker Gin, and damaged the Farmer's Exchange, Brewton Wholesale Brewton Livestock Commission, and Ritz Theater.
The fire broke out at around 9:15 that morning and firemen from all over, and locals who pitched in, battled the blaze all morning. Finally it was controlled at around 11 a.m.
Sam Parker said that he was ginning cotton that morning when the fire broke out. The initial blaze was put out but it had caught in the wall. The building was made of fat wood and soon the fire was out of control. It is believed that a gas engine powering some of the equipment in the building exploded setting the place on fire.
Speaking of fires, I told you about the fire that took place at the Masonic Hall on Belleville Ave. a couple of weeks ago. I was visited by Dr. Bob Lowe this morning, and he informed me that the fire did not start on the second floor, but on the first in the office of The Brewton Standard. He said he had been on housecalls until late at night and told the telephone operator not to call him unless it was absolutely necessary. He received a call in the early morning hours and the telephone operator apologized for calling, but his office building was on fire. He got there in time to grab a few papers and around $50 before he had to leave the building.
Thought you might get a kick out of hearing about that.