Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Progressive Institution.

Nov. 10, 1887, New York Times, A Progressive Institution,
We have no more prominent instance of energy and progressiveness than is displayed in the history of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, in the Equitable Building. Not content with doing an ordinary safe deposit and storage business, it has been constantly adding new features to its business, all of them directly or indirectly adding to the security of its vaults and to the comfort and convenience of its subscribers. Reading rooms for the use of the patrons of the company, fitted up with writing desks and tables; with stock, news, and all the other indicators; with files of papers and magazines from all parts of the world; with directories of all the principal cities and towns in the United States, and with a library containing many valuable works of reference; an extended burglar alarm system, by means of which all the vaults in the building have the benefit of the company's elaborate and ingeniously-devised alarm connections; a well-organized patrol system, which not only watches the Equitable Building, but practically guards the whole block, and one might almost say the whole neighborhood; the silver bullion department, (through which is issued the new silver bullion certificates which are listed at the New-York Stock Exchange,) requiring specially constructed vaults and additional safeguards. And now the company is adding small, comfortably-furnished desk rooms for the use of those who require a desk down town but do not desire to bear the heavy expense of an office and a clerk.* In addition at all these various features and departments, the company is about to open a warehouse department, where raw silk, opium, quinine, and other valuable commodities may be safely stored in specially-constructed vaults.---Exchange.
[*Regus Business Centers.]

Feb. 18, 1891, New York Times, Silver Certificates.
In the testimony taken during the silver investigation silver certificates were frequently mentioned. These certificates represent silver bullion depoited with the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, in the Equitable Building, one of the oldest safe deposit companies in the world. Everybody should have a box in these vaults wherein to safely keep securities, valuable papers, and jewelry.---Exchange.
[The Mercantile Safe Deposit Company was first incorporated 16 years earlier, incorporating companies only seven years older than that. Could this really represent "one of the oldest safe deposit companies in the world?"]

May 24, 1870, New York Times, Local News In Brief,
Elegant offices are fitting up for the Mercantile Loan and Warehouse Company, at the Equitable Building, corner of Cedar-street and Broadway. The safes, vaults, and other appliances are expected to be ready for occupancy about the 15th of June next. They are being built on a scale which for extent, strength and security surpasses anything of a similar character in the world.
See Buley, page 214
"Closely related to Equitable and The Mercantile Trust Company through ownership and management by much the same persons, was the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, organized by Hyde in December 1875 to take over the safe deposit business of the Mercantile Trust. Directors and stockholders of Equitable were invited to subscribe to the capital stock ($300,000) but Hyde had to take most of it. The Deposit Company became a tenant of the Equitable Building January 1, 1876..."

Buley, page 209
The Mercantile Trust Company began in 1868 as the Fire Proof Warehousing Company. In 1870 the name was changed to the Mercantile Loan and Warehousing Company, and in 1873 to The Mercantile Trust Company.
For some period between 1868 and 1870 the Mercantile Loan and Warehouse was located at No. 122 Broadway (See: Jan. 23, 1871, New York Times, The Forger Van Eeten,)

One of the original directors of the Equitable Society was Jose Francisco de Navarro, who had founded the Commercial Warehouse Company sometime after 1855, which may represent an antecedent. (Buley, page 56.)

In addition to the Mercantile Companies, whose antecedent was Fire Proof Warehousing Company, and the United States Electric Lighting Company, which were in essence, fronts for the Equitable management itself, two original tenants in the Equitable Building were the Hanover Fire Insurance Company, and the American Fire Insurance Company; while early photographs show a prominent Broadway street-level tenant as being the Montauk Fire Insurance Company. So it is surprising that in 1912 Equitable could act so ignorant that it occupied a building that was a firetrap.


March 22, 1881, New York Times,
A suit in which part of the relief asked for by the plaintiffs os the appointment of a Receiver of the Equitable Life Assurance Society was tried before Judge Larremore, in the Supreme Court, Special Term, yesterday. The plaintiffs are John H. Bewley and his wife, Marietta Bewley. They are policy-holders of the defendant corporation, and bring their action as such and on behalf of the other policy-holders. They allege that the Equitable Society has acted against its charter, and has violated the statutes affecting it and like corporations. It has, the plaintiffs aver, invested funds in property and undertakings not within the scope of its rightful business, and has therefore gone outside of the purposes for which it was created. Among the improper things which the company is said to have done is the investment of $4,000,000 in the building at No. 120 Broadway, of $450,000 in the premises at Nos. 112 and 114 Broadway, of $1,000,000 in an edifice in Boston, of $1,100,000 in the stock of the Mercantile Trust Company, of $80,000 in erecting safes for the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company in this City, and of $10,000 in safes for the Equitable Safe Deposit Company in Boston. The Equitable Life Assurance Society demurred to the complaint on the ground that the plaintiffs were not entitled to bring the action without the countenance of the Attorney-General, and that the allegations did not constitute a valid cause of action. The trial was upon the demurrer. Mr. William Blakie appeared for the plaintiffs, and Messrs. Alexander & Green for the defendants.

July 22, 1881,
A decision is favor of the defendant was rendered by Judge Larremore, in Supreme Court, Special Term, yesterday, in the suit of John H. and Marietta Bewley against the Equitable Life Assurance Society and its Directors as individuals. The complaint in the case sets forth that the Directors of theEquitable Society are Trustees, for the benefit of its policy-holders, of all its property in excess of an annual dividend of 7 percent upon its capital stock of $100,000. The plaintiffs are policy-holders. They assert that the individual Trustees have been unfaithful to their trust, and have misappropriated ands wasted the society's money, and that while so misappropriating and wasting the funds, have benefited themselves. The first instance of alleged wrong-doing on the part of the defendants is stated to be the purchase, for $450,000, of the premises Nos. 112 and 114 Broadway. which are not necessary to the immediate transaction of the business of the society within the meaning of the law respecting the manner and purpose by and for which insurance corporations may acquire real estate. In the same manner, it is alleged, the defendants have improperly expended $4,000,000 upon the land and building at No. 120 Broadway, and $1,000,000 upon the Equitable Building in Boston. It is next stated that insurance corporations are prohibited from investing money in stocks below par, and that this law has been violated by the defendants in the investment of $1,100,000 of the funds of the Equitable Society in the stock of the Mercantile Trust Company, of which a majority of the individual defendants were Directors. Following this comes the charge that the defendants used $30,000 of the Equitable's money to fit up vaults which it leased to the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company for $22,000 a year, and that the later corporation, in which some of the defendants are interested, procures $50,000 annually by subletting the vaults. Wrong-doing of the same character is alleged with respect of the investment of $10,000 in vaults leased to the Equitable Safe Deposit Company of Boston. The plaintiffs ask that the individual defendants be compelled to account for the money they are alleged to have improperly appropriated, and that a Receiver be appointed to take the money and invest it, under the direction of the court, for the benefit of the policy-holders of the Equitable Life Assurance Society.
The defendants demured to the complaint on the grounds that the Superintendent of the Insurance Department, and the children of John H. and Marietta Bewlry had not been joined as parties plaintiff in the suit, and that facts sufficient to form a cause of action were nott stated. In his opinion sustaining the demurrer Judge Larremore says: "The Equitable Life Assurance Society is not a mere association, but a duly incorporated association, represented by stock holders and a Board of Directors. No pretense is amde that it is insolvent, or unable to meet all its obligations, but the plaintiffs insist that it has violated the rights and privledges of its charter by improper and unauthorized investments of its funds, to the prejudice of themselves and all other policy-holders. The question then occurs, What rights have been invaded and violated, and to what extent, if any, relief may be extended." Judge Larremore then cites from two cases in the Court of Appeals. In one of these that court held that contracts of insurance upon lives did not differ from ordianry contracts involving pecuniary obligations, and in the other that policy-holders are not partners in the property of insurance companies any more than depositors in a bank are partners in it." Continuing his opinion, the Judge said: "In view of the authorities above cited it is apparent that no trust was created or now exists between the plaintiffs and the defendant corporation or its Directors. Their alleged claim is thus reduced to that of mere creditors of the defendant corporation, and, as such, what is the basis of action? The contingency upon which the payment of their policy depends has not arrived; the company is solvent and able to meet all its obligations, and no actual loss or damage is averred. * * * It is only as judgment creditors that plaintiffs can obtain relief. This point was decided at the General Term of this court vt Chief-Justice Barnard in Belknap against North American Life Insurance Company, and, for the purposes of this trial, must be regarded as controlling. The distinction between policies of life insurance and other ordinary contracts which the learned counsel for the repondents insists should be made, must be left to the tribunal of review. When this case was before the General Term on an appeal from an order denying a motion for leave to amend the complaint, Judge Barett, in affirming the order appealed from, intimated that even if the complaint was bad plaintiffs might well be remitted to the discretion of the Special Term on the subject of further amendment and costs. I fail to percieve, upon the conclusion reached, what the plaintiffs can gain by a further amendment in the case, and think that the defendants should have judgment in their favor upon the demurrer."
Gen. Francis C. Barlow and William Blaikie appeared for the plaintiffs and Messrs. Alexander & Green for the defendants.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


June 4, 1874, New York Times,
There is the possibility of difficulty which may result in a strike among the brick-layers and brick-layers' laborers unless sober counsels prevail. The brick-layers and masons employed on the Equitable Building extension, in Cedar and Pine streets, struck of work on Tuesday on account of the reduction of wages. The brick-layers on the Western Union Telegraph building are meditating [sic] resistance to the reduction from $4 to $3.50, [per day] which has already been made in their wages, but as yet they have taken no action. A meeting of Bricklayers' Union No. 2 was held last night at the Assembly Rooms, corner of Seventh avenue and Twenty-sixth street. On one or two of the large buildings some of the laborers struck in consequence of a reduction of their pay from $2.50 to $2.25 per day, but their places were filled so easily by the employers that it is doubtful whether any other laborers will be ready to follow their example.
March 31, 1887, New York Times,
One of the biggest building strikes that have occurred in this city for a long time past took place yesterday afternoon at the Equitable Building, where the addition to that edifice is being completed. On Tuesday Walking Delegate Godwin, of the Electrical Wiremen's Union, accompanied by several of his colleagues, called on Contracting Builder King and informed him that some 20 non-union electric wire men were employed in the building. Of this number eight worked under Sub-Contractor Pride and the remainder under the United States Illuminating Company.

Mr. King, who is favorable to the unionists, it was said, sent away Pride's men and informed the delegates that he had no control over the others in the employ of the United States Illuminating Company. The delegates asked Mr. King to speak to the Trustees of the Equitable Company. Mr. King did so, but those gentlemen refused to take any notice of the matter. The delegates then informed Mr. King that, unless all the scabs were discharged, they would be compelled to order a strike in the building. Neither Mr. King nor the Trustees would believe the threat. Yesterday, about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, the entire Board of Walking Delegates met near the Equitable Building and decided to call out the men. Half-past one o'clock was the hour agreed upon to call the men out. The delegates scattered over the building, and until the last minute no one in the building who was not in the secret had any idea that a strike was impending. Every man was busy at his work.

As the clock hands pointed to 1:30 every one suddenly laid down his tools, the carpenters stopped cutting wood, the sounds of the marble cutters'hammers were hushed, and the workmen quietly walked out of the building, gathered in knots on the sidewalks, and then went home. The contractors were dumbfounded, and the walking delegates informed them that the strike would continue as long as the scab electric wire men remained at work. Those men defied the delegates, and declared that they would remain at work in spite of all the unions. The following is a list of the men who struck: Capenters, 300; marble cutters, 120; marble cutters' helpers, 120; laborers, 75; steam fitters, 40; plumbers, 40; painters, 65; gas fitters, 15; hard wood finishers, 83; polishers, 12.
[Go Norma Ray!]

March 31, 1887,
New York Times Editorial:
The strike of all the mechanics engaged on the Equitable Building yesterday to secure the discharge of a dozen of nonm-union men, over whom the employer of the strikers had no control whatever, is a very extreme manifestation of the spirit of monopoly. The objectionable workmen are employed by the United States Electrical Light Company, and not by the contractor. Their only offense is that they do not belong to a trades union. The Trustees of the building when appelaed to refused to takr any action in the matter, in which they were clearly right. It now rermains to be seen whether the strikers will insist on injuring a contractor who is entirely friendly to them in order to persecute a few men who decline to put themselves under bondage to the union managers. A clearer case of outrage upon the fundamental rights of the laboring men has not lately occurred in this city.
[Oh, stop acting like a little girl, New York Times. It's not like the principals weren't warned...]

Jan. 16, 1887, New York Times,
An accident, resulting in the death of one man and the injuring of two others, occurred in the Equitable Building yesterday [Saturday]. The property is being enlarged and improved and a large force of men is at work. At 10:50 A.M. a heavy scaffolding on the third floor at the Broadway side suddenly fell with a crash that was heard and felt in remote parts of the great building. When the first excitement was over the special policemen employed on the premises hurried to the scene of the accident and rumors went through the halls and corridors that many men were killed and wounded.

The police first dragged from the debris the limp and dust-covered form of a man in overalls who clutched a coil of wire. He was quickly carried to the other end of the corridor, and messengers summoned the medical examiner of the Equitable Assurance Society and the Chambers-Sreet Hospital ambulance. While this was being done the search in the broken timbers was continued and two more men were taken out. One was John Callaghan, aged 25 years, a laborer, living at No. 120 Union-street. He was bleeding profusely from scalp wounds and complained of body bruises. The other was Alexander Phillips, aged 17 years, a plumber, of No. 520 West Thirty-ninth-street, He was hurt about the head, but not apparently to any dangerous extent. When the doctor arrived and examined the man with the coil of wire he was found to be dead. From the nature of his wounds it was believed that he was killed instantly.

The dead man was Dan Ford, of No. 800 Second-avenue. He was 35 years old and married, but with no children. He was in the employ of the United States Electric Light Company, and at the time of the accident was passing under the scaffold with the coil of wire. The other men were on the platform and fell with it. Ford's body was taken to his home in the afternoon. Callaghan was taken away in the ambulance and Phillips was sent home in a cab. Nobody at the building could be found who blamed anybody. The timbers which composed the scaffold were new and it was believed to be strong.
[or going back even further...]

August 8, 1886, New York Times,
Workmen employed on the addition to the Equitable Building on Broadway began hoisting a huge block of granite at 11 o'clock yesterday [Saturday] morning. John Dallas, a Scotchman, and brother of Foreman Dallas, stood on the block to steady it. The big derrick creaked and the stout rope stretched as the mass of stone rose in the air. Its course was close to the side of the building. When the third story was reached the rope broke. It had been weakened by contact with the metal ornamentation. The stone was swaying when the strands separated. It crashed against the building, knocked a hole in it, and plunged downward with frightful velocity. Dallas fell with it. He struck on his back. "Good-bye, brother---good-bye wife," he cried, and became unconscious. An hour later he died at Chambers-Street Hospital, where he had been taken in an ambulance.
Can you tell the difference in the power dynamic between a sweet revenge murder and a staged faux event designed to justify inflated granite bills? Were brother John and Foreman Dallas identical twins, like the several score who figured in the 9/11 drama---or was he just a Kevin Pfiefer/ Gary Lutnick knock-off? "Good-bye brother!" indeed. And if "metal ornament" was present (like the sharp edge of a projecting cornice perhaps?) what the hell were they doing lifting a "huge block of granite" above the third floor? Are they really trying to indicate that the exterior walls were comprised of structural granite--like the fucking Parthenon? Note, for what its worth, that both fatalities took place on a Saturday, when the area banks were closed. Also, the private security force and private medical response is very much in keeping with the 9/11 playbook--or should I say---9/11 was in keeping with the Equitable playbook, since it came almost ninety years before.

Making the Equitable/ New York Times position even more untenable is the fact that the United States Electric Light Company is a subsidiary, or dummy, or front operation controlled by many of the same people who control the Equitable company itself. See:
The stockholders of the United States Electric Light Company held their third annual meeting yesterday in the Equitable Building, and elected the following Trustees: Charles R. Flint, Louis Fitzgerald, D. Willis James, D.C. Wilcox, Marcellus Hartley, Robert B. Minturn, Henry B. Hyde, Daniel B. Haton, Henry M. Alexander, Anson Phelps Stokes, Spencer D. Schuyler, Thomas H. Hubbard, Leonard E. Curtis.
The Nov. 9, 1880, New York Times article, "THE ELECTRIC LIGHT," tells us that the electric light installation in the Mercantile quarters was apparently the first ever set up in a commercial structure. Of course, the Mercantile companies themselves were set up by the same group of men to serve as front organizations, which allowed them to engage in activities an insurance company was otherwise prohibited by law to do.
The United States Electric Company have introduced their arc and incandescent lights in the offices and vaults of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, in the basement of the Equitable Building. This is said to be the first practical use that has been made of the incandescent mode of lighting, and is particularly interesting on that account. The Mercantile Safe Deposit Company has enlarged its premises, adding a reading-room containing the leading newspapers of the world, a smoking room, and largely increased accomidations in the way of security boxes and rooms for the examination of securities.
See also the Dec. 21, 1880, New York Times, "LIGHTS FOR A GREAT CITY; BRUSH'S SYSTEM IN SUCCESSFUL USE LAST NIGHT," for a competing company at work.

And for where this all leads to, see the Dec. 4, 1890, New York Times, "GOSSIP OF THE CLUBS." for THE BILL!:
The fight between the incandescent electric light and gas for supremacy in club rooms is going to reach a crisis before long. The other day the electric illuminating company which lights the Manhattan clubhouse put in a bill for the exceedingly modest sum of $2,200 for electric light furnished to the club during November. This sum multiplied by twelve would be more than half the annual rental and taxes on the Stewart property, and the Governorts decided that they could not afford to pay for the elctric illumination of the house and refused to pay the bill.
This article also tells us how impossible it is to get a club restaurant to break even financially.


Jan. 22, 1875, New York Times,


More than six or seven years ago it was believed by some that the financial centre of the City would be changed from Wall street to the vicinity of the City Hall Park, but the erection of a large number of very substantial and commodious buildings in Wall street and its immediate vicinity, the permanent location of the Stock Exchange, the purchase by the United States of the Assay Office and the Sub-Treasury, the establishment of the New-York Clearing House one block from the centre of Wall street, have settled this matter for the future. The proposed building on the present location of the Post Office as a common exchange for all the commercial interests of the City, the extension of the new Equitable Building---itself one of the most superb and well-arranged structures for business purposes---all contribute to make this locality the permanent financial centre. Within a radius of a few hundred feet from the corner of Pine and Nassau streets will be found more corporations and institutions representing financial strength than in any part of this or any city upon this Continent. The new building of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States is fast approaching completion. Favorably situated, with its three entrances on Broadway, Cedar and Pine streets, the latter entrance one block from the heart of Wall Street, it embraces perhaps greater advantages than any other commercial building in the City, offering, by means of its six elevators, unequalled facilities for lawyers, who occupy almost exclusively its upper stories. The corporations who have occupied its first story and basement are prosperous and are extending their quarters. The German-American Bank will occupy a large banking-room in the rear, admirably lighted and far more spacious than their present one. The Hanover Fire Insurance Company extends it offices on Cedar Street. The Mercantile Trust Company, whose business is rapidly increasing, stretch their offices and safe deposit vaults more than fifty feet further on Cedar Street.

The citizens of Chicago and Boston are alive to the necessity of real fire-proof offices than we are now, but let a great conflagration once take place in this City, destroying the books and the records of business men, with all the confusion, inconvenience, and disaster incident to such a catastrophe, and the value of entire security will then be fully felt. The great fire in Boston was stopped by the Post Office, a structure almost identical with that of the Equitable Life Building, being of the same material and method of construction. When, added to this, careful supervision and policing such as is possible in so large a building as the Equitable is carried out, every tenant may feel that as far as human foresight can reach, all avenues of safety are comprehended.

The rooms in this building were offered the first part of this week, and more than one-half of the accommodations presented have already been rented. We append herewith a list of the corporations, lawyers, and others, who have offices at present, or who are to become tenants in the building after the 1rst of May next:
WM. G. LAMBERT, Vice President.
ELBERT B. MONROE, Vice President.
H. ROCHOLL, President.
D. SALOMON, Vice President.
O.H. SCHREINER, Cashier.
JAMES M. HALSTED, President.
B.S. WALCOTT, President.
I. REMSEN LANE, Secretary.
B.W. DELAMETER, President.
HOMER H. STUART, President.
JARED K. MYERS, Secreatry.
HENRY B. HYDE, President.
JAMES W. ALEXANDER, Vice President.
Architects--GEO. B. POST.
Builders--JAS. B. SMITH & P. RODGERS.
Staioners--CHAS. B. JORDAN & CO.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ugh. Lady Reporters with Bylines.

January 11, 1912, The Evening World,

Page 2, Columns 4-7,

Photo Caption:
Mrs. William J. Walsh and Children of the Heroic Fire Chief
Standing left to right, Agnes, Anna; sitting Lorette, William, Mrs. Walsh and Margaret

Grateful for Evening World's Relief Fund for Herself and Children.

Marguerite Mooers Marshall.

Mrs. William J. Walsh is waiting.

Yesterday I went to tell his widow of the relief fund which The Evining World is collecting for her and her children. And I found her sitting quietly in her little home at No. 1170 Forty-second street, Brooklyn, waiting for them to bring to her the body that is still hidden under tons of twisted steel and iron. Her high, straight-backed chair is drawn
close to the window from which she can see further down the icy road, and almost at her elbow is the table with the telephone that will announce when "he" is found. Children and neighbors press her with well-meant intentions and queries, but for them all she has the one answer, "l must wait till they find him and bring him home."

She is a broad shouldered, motherly figure, a woman with a lap made to hold children. Her dark hair is just touched with gray, her pleasant blue eyes have perhaps faded a trifle, but there are not many lines in her strong, sensible face---yet.

She looked up almost dazedly as I entered the sitting room. In one hand was a freshly ironed pocket handkerchief, the creases in it still showing.

"Have you come to tell me that they've found him?" she asked. But before I could answer she shook her head disappointedly. "No, of course you haven't," she murmured, almost to her self. "They promised to telephone. I hope I won't have to wait much longer."

"Every one want to help you," I said.


"I know," she assented, "and I'm sure I'm very grateful to The Evening World and all the other people. Only I can't think very clearly just now. You see, we've been married twenty-two years, and I have stopped being afraid. I think that's what makes it hardest. There I let him go away without a caution, without even a doubt, just as if I didn't care what happened to him. And God knows it wasn't that. But you see I had got used to the danger. And he was always so strong and brave and cheerful. At first, when we were married, I used to be frightened every time he went out with the engines. But he always laughed at me, not in a nasty way, but just to cheer me up and make me ashamed of myself for doubting him. He always said he knew how to take of himself, and that he wouldn't let anything happen to him that would take him away from me and the children. He knew how hard things would be for us without him."

You have several children?" I questioned.

"Six," said Mrs. Walsh, "not counting the little girl that died. There's May, who's the oldest, and Anna, two, years younger, and Agnes, and Luella and the boy Billie, named for his father and just ten, and the baby, Margaret, who's two. Their father worked so hard to keep them all in shool, and not one of them has ever gone out to work."

Th girls were all together in one corner of the room, near the crib where little Margaret slept. They are slender with their father's brown eyes and hair, all except the baby, who is as fair as the others are dark. Billie, ten, has blue eyes like his mother's.


"They were all so fond of their father," Mrs. Walsh went on, as her glance followed mine to the huddled little group. "Even the baby that can't talk yet, always had a laugh for
him when she saw him coming. And the girls have been saying over and over again, 'Papa was such a good man."

"He gave up his life for his duty and to save others," I remarked rather tritely.

"Yes," Mrs. Walsh assented in the same quiet, almost monotonous voice. "Of course, he couldn't have done anything greater. You know it's in the Bible, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.' And he laid down his life for people he didn't even know, just because they were people whom he had
promised to protect. And even when he saw his own danger he did his best to warn the others, the men who worked and risked their lives with him.

"Ot course I am proud of him, and I've always been proud when they said he was one of the bravest men on the force, and better acquainted with his district than any other fireman. If he had to die now, he couldn't have left a greater name for his children.


"But these are the things that everybody can't help but know. He's given every man and woman in New York proof of his courage and faithfulness. But somehow those aren't the things the children and I think of first when we say to each other, "How good he was!"

"My husband was a home man always. Whenever he had a day off he didn't go up to town for a good time, but he stayed right here and did things that would make us all happier." And I recalled the neat, white-painted fence and gate which marked out the Walsh home from its neighbors when I was two blocks away, and the piazza that meant a garden only a few months ago.

He kept the lawn so green and smooth," Mrs. Walsh continued, as I thought of these things, "and the piazza floor always clean and the paint renewed, and he would always have some flowers. I never had to ask him twice to mend any little thing for me around the house, or help move furniture, or put down a carpet.


"He always wanted to own his own house ever since we got married. But, you see, we had to live on a lieutenant's or captain's pay for so many years, and the children kept coming, and they were mostly girls, and it takes so much for girls. But finally, ten years ago, we moved over here and he began to make payments on the house. We both knew he'd never do anything to lose his job and so fall back on the payment, and we've felt from the start as if we really owned our home. But now there's the rest of the mortgage to pay up, and if we can't do it we shall lose all he put in and have to go away from the place that meant so much to him.

"We have been so happy here! We were together so much. There were so many of us and nobody liked to go off without the others, we stayed here together. And besides not going away from his home and working hard for it, my husband was so kind. All the years we've been married we never had a real quarrel. We cared for each other in the beginning, and it's lasted all along. He couldn't hardly bear to scold the children when they needed it, and he never spoke sharp to me.

"I suppose we were too happy for it to last. Somehow the people who grow old together always seem to be the ones who snap at each other. But this has been so quick, so kind of broken off in the middle. And he was good, good, good---I can't see why it was right for him to die! Sometimes I can't seem to realise he is dead. But I suppose I shall when they bring him home."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dumbwaiters and Standpipes.

The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States 1859-1965, by R. Carlye Buley, 1967
page 102:
In the "cellar" or second floor below the street level were the boilers. These generated steam for heat, to power the elevators, and to run the water pumps which developed 400 pounds pressure per square inch---equal to six steam fire engines---to send the water through the building and to the two roof reservoirs.

Standpipe locations:

Illustration from the REPORT ON FIRE IN THE EQUITABLE BUILDING, January 9, 1912, issued February 29, 1912, by the New York Board Of Fire Underwriters, which purports to be a "Plan showing Beam, Girder and Column Arrangement," with "Principal Floor Openings."

Plate 4.10, found on page 74 of Rise of the New York Skyscraper: 1865-1913, by Sarah Bradford Landau and Carl W. Condit (Yale University Press, 1996) is captioned "Ground floor plan of Equitable Building as enlarged 1886-89." It depicts massive masonry piers on the ground floor running through the major collapse zone centered on Broadway. It is unlikely that the top floors "Collapsed above Basement" as indicated on the Underwriters' drawing, without meeting stiff resistance here on the ground floor. Likewise, a strongly indicated interior masonry wall flanking the ground-floor Mercantile vault would also provide resistance to a collapse, as would the slightly angled original rear wall to the 1870 building, which the Underwriters' plan fails to indicate at all, even in a vestigial state.

Most strange, is the location of the dumbwaiter shafts, indicated on the Underwriters' plan as a small enclosure filled with multiple flues, which the written narrative tells us was central to the rapid vertical spread of the fire. This area is not included in the plan published in the Landau/Condit book as being part of the 1886-89 enlargement, which would indicate it as being a subsequent development.

The full-block plot of the Equitable Building was assembled over several decades. The 1891 Bromley tax-lot map indivuates seven original lots in the block fronting Nassau Street. Comparing it to the plan in the Landau/Condit book which depicts the Equitable Building as enlarged by 1889, shows that at the corner of Cedar and Nassau Streets stood the separate Belmont building on lot Nos. 1173 and 1174. Mid block, on lot Nos. 1176 and 1175, stood the major extension of the main building running through to Nassau Street; while at the corner of Pine and Nassau Streets, on lot Nos. 1179, 1178 and 1177, stood a separate building, which by 1889 housed the Equitable Trust Company, but which is still being indicated as remaining distinct from the main building.

The Underwriters' report describes the dumbwaiter system as a "shaft connect[ing] the Cafe Savarin kitchen on the 8th floor and roof structure with store rooms in the basement, the restaurants and dining rooms on the grade and 1st, and the Lawyers' Club on 5th and 6th." These dining rooms, located at the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street, were nearly three-quarters of a block removed from this location of the dumbwaiters.

Even more questionable is how a use integral to the functioning utility of a building could stand outside the original parameters of that expanded building. How was food delivered between floors previously? Did a later relocation of the dumbwaiter system represent both a decrease in the efficiency of delivering hot food, and an increase in the fire-safty hazard presented?

On fact, the New York Times reported in 1893, that the building at No. 17 Nassau Street still wasn't under Equitable control. How could a dumbwaiter system located there serve the club and restaurants established several years in advance?

Nov. 22, 1893, New York Times, Down-Town Realty Sold; Purchases Of Much More Than a Million of Dollars.
John Anderson's Old Corner at Broadway and Pine Street Brings $400,000 -- A Twelve-Story Building to Grace the Site -- The Equitable Life Assurance Society Buys the Clearing House Building at Nassau and Pine Streets -- A Liberty Street Sale -- Money at 4 1-2 Per Cent. -- Sales at Auction.
Three notable sales of down-town real estate were had yesterday. One of these was the southeast corner of Broadway and Pine Street, the second the northwest corner of Nassau and Pine Streets, and the third the property at 45 Liberty Street. All were discussed with interest by real estate men. and two of them especially so, because these purchases mean improvement by buildings.
The larger transaction yesterday as regards the price obtained was the sale of the Clearing House Building and site at Nassau and Pine Streets. This is an old-fashioned brownstone building, five stories high. The lot measures 36.7 feet on Nassau Street by 80.3 feet on Pine. The property was bough by the Equitable Life Assurance Society. Exactly what was paid is somewhat a matter of conjecture. The lowest statement put the price at $600,000. Other figures given make it $700,000. There are in the plot about 2,800 square feet. taking the lowest statement, it makes the price at nearly $215 per square foot. The Equitable Society now owns the entire block bounded by Broadway, Nassau, Cedar, and Pine Streets, excepting the small building at 17 Nassau Street and the two at 23 and 25 Nassau, which, however, were leased a few years ago to it by John Egmont Schermerhorn and the Mead estate, through Mr. John N. Golding, for fifty years. It is expected that the Equitable will tear down the old structure which has sheltered the Clearing House and the Chase National Bank for so many years and put on the site an addition to its own large edifice, in keeping with the style and appointments of the latter.
The third of the sales was by Mr. W.E. Asten, of the four-story brick structure and lot at 45 Liberty Street. This is the third building to the west of the old fire-engine house, sold last week for $110,000 to the Lawyers'Title Insurance Company. Neither the terms of sale nor the name of the purchaser were made public yesterday, but it is known that Mr. Asten received more than $100,000. The lot is 17.5 feet by 75.3, containing about 1,300 square feet. It brought about $80 per square fot. Mr. Asten owned this property many years ago. He exchanged it for some up-town lots with the late Peter Lalor, while there were about $75,000 of mortgages upon it. After Mr. Lalor's death the property was sold at auction, and Mr. Asten was the purchaser at the sale.
High Resolution Images:

Plate 1, General Plan of the Building, Exposures and Standpipes

Plate 2, Plan showing Beam, Girder and Column Arrangement--Principal Floor Openings and Collapsed Sections

Plate 3, Types of Floor Arches

Plate 4, Types of Floor Arches and Column Connections

Plate 5, Plan showing Location of vaults

Plate 6, The Equitable Building, Broadway and Cedar Street Corner---Two Days after the Fire--Water still being thrown on wreckage of Main Collapse over the Safe deposit Vaults

Plate 7, Hose Streams on Broadway--Note how the Steams were turned into Spray by the Wind. Throw of Upper Stream about 70 feet.

Plate 8, Operations of the Fire Department on Nassau Street. The Principal Stream Is from the Mast ot Water Tower No. 2, supplied by two three'Inch Streams from the High Pressure Service. The Direction of the Stream is too near the Vertical to be Effective inside of the Building

Plate 9, Operations of the Fire Department on Broadway from Street Level

Plate 10, Interior View of Main Collapse looking North toward Cedar Street, showing Debris on top of Safe Deposit Vaults. The floors above the Security Vault of the Equitable Life Assurance Society are shown standing in left of picture.

Plate 11, Main Collapse looking South toward Pine Street from No. 128 Broadway

Plate 12, General View of Light Shaft "O" and Fractured Cast Iron Columns "A" and "B" --see Plate 2. The construction of the heavy Floor Arch in left of picture Is detailed in Figure 3, Plate 3

Plate 13, Cast Iron Column "A" standing at Light Shatt "0 " —see Plate 2. Detail of Fracture at Seventh Floor Level, showing Thickness ot Metal one'halt Inch on One Side and one-eighth Inch at Opposite Side

Plate 14, Cast Iron Column "B" standing at Light Shaft "0 " —see Plate 2. Detail of Fracture at Seventh Floor Level and Deflected Brackets due to Softening of Metal. Also shows One Method of attaching Beams to Columns. Thickness of Metal at Fracture about one-fourth Inch.

Plate 15, East side of Middle Collapse, Third Floor. Partial Failure of Wrought Iron Column "C' at Light Shaft "N" ---see Plate 2. Deflected Floor Beams--Metal Stud and Lathing of Partions and Light Shaft Enclosure (apparent Fissure in Cast Iron Column Is in Plaster Covering)

Plate 16, Partial Failure of Wrought Iron Column "C," Third Floor, at Light Shaft "N "—see Plate 2. Note the Method of Fastening Wrought Iron Beams to Cast Iron Columns by Wrought Iron Straps Passing through Column.

Plate 17, Wall Failure, East End of Main Court, due to Broken Cast Iron Window Lintels and Spalling of Stone Facing, allowing Cast Iron Mulllons to drop out.

Plate 18, Cedar Street Wall, corner of Broadway, Inside View showing Pipe Channels.

Plate 19, Insurance Library on Gallery Floor, showing Collapse of False Ceilling made of Plaster on Wire Lath over a Wooden Frame, Wood Paneled Walls shown to right also Terra Cotta Furring.

Somehow it Always Looked Bigger in the Lobby

John Quincy Adams Ward's bronze statue of Henry B. Hyde, unveiled in the ground-floor arcade of the Equitable Building, at 120 Broadway on May 2, 1901, which was the second anniversary of Hyde's death, and it remained there until a fire and building collapse devastated the building on January 9, 1912. In 1972, it was given by the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where it is not on display, although a 21-inch version of the "artwork" can be found in Gallery 774."

See also: May 3, 1911, New York Times, "Tribute To Henry B. Hyde, Statue of Equitable Life Assurance Society's Founder Unveiled. Senator Depew and J.W. Alexander Tell of the Company's Wonderful Growth Under His Management."

Note the luncheon guests listed in the 2nd paragraph:
Before the brief ceremony that preceeded the pulling of the string which let fall from the bronze its canopy of Stars and Stripes, a meeting was held in the board room of the society, up stairs. Senator Chauncey M. Depew and James W. Alexander, who is now President of the Equitable, made speeches. Among those present were Louis Fitzgerald, E.H. Harriman, H.G. Marquand, Melville E. Stone, T. Jefferson Coolidge, Jacob H. Schiff, Sir William C. Van Horne, Col. John Jacob Astor, A.J. Cassatt, John A. Stewart, Levi P. Morton, August Belmont, Adolph S. Ochs, Cornelius Bliss, Gage E. Tarbell, William Alexander, Col. John J. McCook, G. B. Post, J. Q. A. Ward, Thomas T. Eckert, W. H. McIntyre, Samuel M. Inman, V. P. Snyder, Brayton Ives. C. Ledyard Blair, C. B. Alexander, Thomas D. Jordan, Marcellus Hartley, William A. Wheelock, and George H. Squire.

Which direction did the statue face---east or west?

New-York Daily Tribune Jan. 11, page 3, photo Brown Bros. back turned, foreground with debris, hoses.

The World front page, Jan.10, photo American Press Association back turned, viewed dead on.

The Times front page, Jan. 11, photo Brown Bros. front from front

The above photograph was taken in 1912 by Edward N. Jackson. Joseph Caro's website, which supports his forthcoming book on Eddie Jackson, tells us that
One of Eddie's first free-lance photo opportunities before working for the American Press Association, was the New York Equitable Building eight-alarm fire in the financial district on Pine Street in January, 1912.
Eddie Jackson had an instinctive eye for photo composition as these early pictures taken in the 1912 Equitable Building fire clearly show. With no formal training in photography or composition, Eddie shows us and his photographic peers of the era his ability to construct a photograph to a high dramatic level-even during the excitement of the scene as it unfolds. As Eddie Jackson stated later in life "a good photograph is worth 10 columns of copy."
Jackson went on to a distinguished career during WWI as personal photographer of President Wilson. Afterward, as an page tells us:
One of the first exclusive picture opportunities for the tabloid occurred on September 16, 1920. Captain Edward N. Jackson of the Daily News was on a routine assignment in Wall Street when a dynamite bomb in a horse-drawn wagon went off, killing thirty people and injuring a hundred. Jackson went to work, capturing the best pictures of the disaster. Other photographers soon arrived on the scene, but by then the police had already drawn lines about the explosion area. Jackson consequently was the only journalist to escape with on-the-scene pictures of the victims and first aid work. In cases such as this, history influenced the paper to cover the story, and the paper’s pictorial coverage augmented history by supplying pictures that would have otherwise never existed.
Jackson put it best himself perhaps:
Human history in its writing is fairly authentic – but I would offer that photographic history has an element of certainty about it that is indisputably authentic. The picture tells its own story – and proves it, is corroborative, and records details that are often lost in writing. Edward N. Jackson (1932)

The fire and collapse at the Equitable Building on January 9, 1912, was an early use of the nearly identical template as that later used at the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The eerie parallels between these two events points out the manipulated and false-flag nature of what the public takes to be organic reality, which is recognizable by a dearth of imagination in the pre-planning.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Sun, January, 11, 1912, "Policies Are Safe And Billion Too,"

The Sun, January, 11, 1912, "Policies Are Safe And Billion Too,"
Thursday, Page 1, Column 1,


Experts Find Equitable Vaults Withstood Fire and Securities Are Preserved.
Flameproof Safes,. Uninjured Amid Debris—Open in Three Days.
Pile Big as an Ordinary House Towers Over the Body of Battalion Chief.
American Exchange Tenants Ordered Out—Gas Explosion Feared—Wall Street Resumes Rush.

The biggest news that came yesterday from the ice palace that was once the Equitable Building was the announcement by President. William A. Day of the assurance society that the securities, worth $1,000.000.000 or more, stored in the vaults of the Equitable and the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company are unharmed and the 90,000 policies on which the Equitable had loaned $70,000,000 had been found intact in the steel cases on the second floor.

The ruined building, crystalled with ice on all four sides, but simmering and smoking here and there within, where the wreckage mounts high, still holds the bodies of Battalion Chief William J. Walsh of the Fire Department and John Campion, the safe deposit company's watchman, who died with his hands gripping the steel bars of the Broadway grill. It is probable also that the body of Frank J. Neider, another Mercantile watchman, lies somewhere under the massed debris in the rear of the safe deposit vaults.

Weakened by falling floors and the immense weight of ice that clings to it, the north wall of the building has bulged four feet out of plumb and threatens the tall building of the American Exchange National Bank across Cedar street and the Chase National and the Clearing House further east. The Building Department yesterday warned the bank and other tenants of the bank's building to vacate until the suspected wall had been shored up. That will be done to-day by the Thompson-Starrett company. The other walls are apparently secure, supported as they are on the Broadway, and Nassau streets sides by unshattered floors. At 1 o'clock this afterrnoon the American Exchange tenants will be permitted to enter their offices briefly to obtain their effects.

When the order came that the tenants of the American Exchange National Bank Buildng must leave, W.H. Bennett, vice-president and cashier of the bank, was in the vault with three or four other officials. They were getting currency to take to the bank's new quarters at 60 Broadway. A police lieutenant rushed up to them and said that the wall across the street might fall at any minute. The officials grabbed what money they had taken out. Mr. Bennett slammed shut the vault doors and then they hustled out to the street, each with an armful of currency wrapped in brown paper.


Very early yesterday morning, long before the Wall Street district filled and opened for business, the officials of the Equitable Life Assurance Society and of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company sent vault experts into the ruins to determine if possible whether there was any reason to be worried about the securities. E. M. Billings, secretary of the Mercantile, and W.C. Poillon, vice-president of the vault company, climbed over ice hummocks and piles of wreckage and satisfied themselves the fire had done little damage. In these vaults are stored the securities of the Harriman and Gould estates, of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., of Kountze Bros., August Belmont & Co., William A. Read & Co., and others.

Firemen who guided Mr. Billings and Mr. Peillon told them the vaults for a short time had been exposed to great heat but not long enough to char their contents. The rear walls of the Mercantile vaults are intact and the coupon room is undamaged. The Mercantile officials decided that it would be safe to open vaults in three or four days.

Accompanied by Deputy Chief Binns, Vice-Presidents Strong and Thornton of the Bankers' Trust Company visited the great strongboxes of the Equitable Society on the second floor. They assured themselves the vaults were uninjured and that there was no reason to suppose the $271,000,000 worth of Equitable securities stored there were harmed. E.E. Rittenhouse, representing President Day, reported to the meeting of the executive committee of the board of directors that the securities could be retrieved in three days. It was thought best to wait that long to make sure the temperature of the interior of the vaults had cooled down.


Assistant Secretory S. S. McCurdy of the Equitable,who had been inspecting the fire swept offices on the second and third floors, reported cheerful news to the new quarters of the society in the City Investing Building. McCurdy, after a deal of climbing about, got to the

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offices of the secretary on the second floor at the Pine and Nassau street corner.

He discovered at once that the minutes of directors' meetings covering all the years since the organization of the society were safe, together with other records that were lost, it was at first feared.

Then he made his way into the Comptroller's office. That had been pretty well cleaned out by the flames, but the steel cases in which were kept the policies that the Equitable people had been worried about, and which were protected by a thick wall of fireproof brick, had hardly been seared. McCurdy opened several, saw that the policies were O.K. and hustled back to the City Investing Building with the good news. Members of the executive committee, some of whom had come from Boston and Philadelphia alarmed over the possibility of lost loan policies and endangered securities, were greatly relieved.


While these investigations were going on the firemen, under Chief Kenlon's direction, trailed through the gloomy shell, dousing out spurts of flame that started up persistently in the out of the way corners and from places where woodwork still remained. Kenlon's men found out definitely where the body of Battalion Chief Walsh is buried. It lies, they made sure, under a mound of wreckage that pyramids fifty feet and is as big as a good sized house. It fills space where three floors were and rises back of the centre of the building about where the intersection of lines drawn from the Clearing House door to Pine street and from the Equitable entrance to the Fourth National Bank would be. Thompson-Startett wreckers said yesterday it might take a week to clear away that enormous pile of debris, close packed and solidly frozen as it is. Chief Kenlon, after looking over the mass, thought Walsh's body was very likely near the bottom crushed by thousands of tons of stone and brick and steel.

Although the firemen were pretty sure there were other bodies in the ruins none were found. Supt. Paul of the building said Frank J. Neider and Conrad Seibert, two watchmen who had been reported as missing, had been heard from, but Lillian Smathers of 66 West 133rd street called at Police Headquarters yesterday and said that Levi Brian, a negro, who had been employed in the Equitable Building, had not been home since the fire. She believed he had been killed. The police, however, have no record of any misssing.


The body of Campion is frozen under masses of ice that reach from the sidewalk deep into the Broadway entrance of the deposit company . All day Tuesday and throughout Tuesday night streams of water were turned into the Mercantile's quarters through the Cedar and Broadway windows. Kenlon feared there might be fire remaining somewhere back in the vaults and was taking no chances. So very slowly, as the water froze. Campion's body was encased, then lost to sight. Unless the cold moderates it will be difficult to reach.

People who adventured yesterday into the ruins of the Equitable got a clear idea of how the fire coursed and spread and of what destruction it wrought. Going in by the Pine street entrance and stumbling through a dark and slippery hall one came first to the rotunda under the dome. The only object that showed no trace of fire was the bronze statue of Henry Baldwin Hyde standing firmly on its onyx pedestal in the exact centre of the building. A fireman early in the day had thrown a rope around the neck of the statue, which gave it in those melancholy surroundings a curious appearance. The strong steel arches of the dome had protected the statue from the downpour of stone and bricks.


The elevator shafts, denuded by the fire, were plain explanations of its sudden and terrific sweep, originating near the elevators on the Pine street side. the flames had shot up these handy chimneys and spread all over the upper floors

The only part of the building that was not fire swept was the northeast extension at Cedar and Nassau streets, occupied by August Belmont & Co. Here there was some water damage, but the offices were not scarred by fire. The air currents and the freakiness of flames carried the destruction away from the corner. Elsewhere, and especially in the centre of the building and on the Cedar street side, the ruin was complete. The shell seemed to be solid enough, but it was nothing more than a shell.

Mounting the icy stairways, where Thompson-Starrett wreckers and firemen passed like gnomes, and climbing by ladder to the fifth and sixth floor, one could see what the fire had done to the Lawyers Club — wiped it out. Of the great law library on the eighth floor nothing remained but blackened walls.


Back of the centre of the ruin were empty spaces made by the down crash of the water tank and of blocks of masonry from the roof. Through these the sky could be seen. There were half a dozen of these. Everywhere save at the northeast corner were shattered floors, piles of masonry and charred wood welded by ice, and a curious litter of insurance literature and documents, ornamental glass, bronze decorations and even small coins. A section of the flagstaff, fallen eight stories, lay in the rotunda just beyond the floor of the dome.

On the upper floors gas, ignited when the pipes were broken, was burning in vivid flares, throwing yellow light through the desolation. The firemen had not considered these uncontrolled lights dangerous apparently, because there was no order to shut off the flow. There was a strong smell of gas throughout the building last night, which worried the police and made them figure on the possibility of an explosion. That induced the Interborough to send a staff of fourteen men into the uptown subway to see if gas had seeped into the tube. They reported no gas there. Anyway, Chief Kenlon thought it best at 8 o'clock last night to stop Broadway car traffic between Wall and Liberty streets. That made it uncomfortable, of course, for the folks who had to make a detour. The police lines were drawn tightly.

The chief confined the work of his department to wetting down thoroughly the piles of debris that still smouldered and gave off thick smoke.


In the upper corridors were squads of wreckers sizing up the job they are to go at briskly to-day. Chief Inspector Nicholas J. Revelle of the Building Department, who was looking over the ruins and swinging from crag to crag like a mountain climber, was injured painfully while investigating on the fourth floor. Loose flooring gave way and dropped Revelle twenty feet. He landed on a pile of stone and brick and was knocked out for a few minutes.


Police Inspector George McClusky had a big squad of bluecoats shooing away the curious. People from all over town went, down to see what was left of the Equitable and pressed hard on the police lines. But they couldn't get closer than Liberty street or Wall street unless they could show a pass. Nassau street also was blocked off by the police between Cedar and Pine streets, but employees of the Fourth National and Hanover National Banks had free passage.

Police Capt. Ormsby of the Fifth street station was put in charge of a temporary police station at 80 Broadway on the ground floor. That is the Union Trust Company building, which had a firescare of its own shortly before noon yesterday. From some cause not known to the employees a blaze got going in a room where waste paper was collected. Smoke surged up the elevalor shafts and spread through the corridors. Attaches of Stock Exchange firms and of other concerns in the building were nervous having, the Equitable fire fresh in mind, and there was a rush to put cash, securities and valuable papers in vaults and safes. There was no excitement, in the Union Trust Company's offices. An alarm was sent in, but before the firemen got around some of Kenlon's men on duty at the Equitable hustled down the street and doused out the blaze with buckets of water.


Fire Commissioner Joseph Johnson, Jr., and Fire Marshal Prial started an investigation yesterday as to the cause of the fire and as to who was responsible for half an hour's delay in notifying the department. They learned that the fire originated in the booth used by Philip O'Brien, timekeeper for the Cafe Savarin. Employees of the restaurant testified there was a gas stove in the small room and that they saw O'Brien light the stove some time previous to the outbreak of the fire that swept through the whole building. These men thought O'Brien might have thrown a match into paper rubbish.

Commissioner Johnson said at night that he had learned the fire was discovered at 5:11 A. M. by William Davis, the chief engineer of the building, and that Davis and his men had tried for twenty minutes to extinguish it without letting the Fire Department know there was trouble. Sergeant Casey of the Greenwich street station said the first he knew of the fire was when Policeman Foley told him about it. With Foley he went into the Savarin and found Davis and a squad using chemical extinguishers and two lines of hose.

Fire Marshal Beers opened an investigation also. He had before him O'Brien, the timekeeper. He said he got to the Equitable Building at 5 o'clock on Tuesday morning, that he went to the basement, where he has a room that contained a stove and a waste paper basket among other things. He lit the gas, he says, and then, walking to the door, threw the match outside upon the asphalt flooring. He left the room shortly and was gone about fifteen minutes. There was no fire there when he returned, he says, and it was not until he had gone upstairs once more that he was told that the wastepaper basket in his room was ablaze


Chief Kenlon called on Fire Commissioner Johnson yesterday and enthusiastically commended Seneca Larke Jr., the fireman who rescued William Giblin, president of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, by sawing the bars of the Broadway grill and making a hole through which Giblin was dragged just in time. Larke is an Indian, the only one of his race in the Pennsylvania station, Thirty-second street and Seventh Avenue, room No. 33


It was learned yesterday that while the records in many bankruptcy cases pending before Nathaniel A. Prentiss, official referee, who had his office in the Equitable Building, were destroyed, in most if not all cases which had not been finally disposed of there are duplicates of the records in the offices of lawyers concerned.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Sun: Equitable Life Fire a Hard Battle and a Real Disaster,

January 10, 1912, The New York Sun, page 1, Column 7,

Transcribed from a scan posted by of the original newspaper hardcopy:


Fire Chief and 5 Others Dead, A Billion Tied Up, Records Gone:


Securities in Vaults Probaly Safe—Policy Holders Safe, Too.


Safe Deposit President Sawn Out in a Hail of Splintered Stone.


Stock Deliveries Suspended— Banks Escape—Lawyers Club and Library Gone.

Ruin by fire in a winter gale befell the Equitable Building yesterday. Six lives were lost, so far as is known; damage to property is put at a million in money, invaluable records have gone to ashes, and the wreck dwarfed by the modern buildings that neighbor it, looks out on Broadway, of which it was once the pride, like a broken windowed barn abandoned to time and the weather. It still houses in its vaults securities and cash estimated to amount to a billion of dollars, and these, it is believed, are safe. Days may pass before a complete exploration can be made. Last night the searchlights of the Singer Building were playing on the smoky ruins to help the firemen, who were trying to cool them off and to search for the body of William J. Walsh, battalion chief, and crowds pressed to the fire lines, as they had pressed all day.

Chief Walsh died carried down by a collapsing floor as he was leading his men upward toward the Lawyers Club rooms. Four employees of the Cafe Savarin who were trapped on the roof plunged to death when the flames reached them. Wlliiam Giblin. president of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company, was in the nick of time—dragged through a window whose steel bars had been sawed through by a fireman. He left a special guard of the company dead in the basement behind him. Two men are reported missing and a score hurt.

Records of the Equitable Society, of railroad companies and other corporations, of law firms and bankruptcy hearings were destroyed. The fine law library, containing 35,000 volumes, estalished by Henry Baldwin Hyde as an inducement to lawyers to take quarters in the building, is dissipated in ashes. Some 100,000 life insurance policies upon which the Equitable had loaned money were in peril. They were in steel boxes, which may not have resisted the heat. If they are gone, as it is believed they are not, it may take legislation to reproduce them. All in all the fire tangled the affairs of corporations with vast interests.


The business of Wall Street was hampered for hours. Only the tremendous efforts of the New York firemen, reenforced by the Brooklyn department, saved the banking houses that surround the Equitable site. Fighting in a sixty mile northwest gale in bitter weather, the firemen beat back the conflagration that threatened early in the morning to sweep across narrow streets and seize upon the Chase National Bank, the Clearing House, the American Exchange Bank and the American Surety Company Building. The Clearing House, imperilled gravely, took quarters in the Chamber of Commerce. Nearby banks marked time, fearing destruction, their employees ready to transfer books and cash. Some did move away. For hours thousands of men employed in office buildings near the Equitable were barred by the police, who threw a stubborn guard around ten blocks. The fire brought a situation novel in New York's money centre.


The actual money loss was comparatively slight, provided, that is, Equitable's securities, the securities of the Gould and Harriman estates and the stocks and bonds owned by Thomas F. Ryan, Kuhn, Loeb & Co.; August Belmont & Co., Kountze Bros. and others are safe in the steel vaults where they were stored. Even the Equitable people do not mourn the building. They figured its actual value to the stock and policy holders as precisely nothing. Figuring that way the society put its loss at only $230,000 but the value of the law library is not included in the estimate. Insurance experts guessed that the loss to tenants would amount to from $400,000 to $500,000. So all told the loss was perhaps $1,000,000, perhaps less.


Wi t h out reference to the immense value of the securities kept in the vaults or the peril of the banks near by or the disturbance to business, the fire itself was in many ways the most spectacular, the most trying on the men who worked with hose and ladders that thefiremen remember. It was only after the flames had gained re-

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sistless headway and had swept through elevator and air shafts from basement to roof that the firemen, summoned from all stations in Manhattan below Fifty-niinth street and from Brooklyn (an un-precedented thing) were massed and organized for a terrific fight. They faced cold that bit to the bone. Their faces were cut by ice whirled in the gale. They toiled with scarce elbow room in narrow streets where water froze as it fell and where ice was piled in rough hummocks a foot high. Ladders slipped and came crashing down. Water towers stalled and were cemented solidly in the grip of ice.

From the cornices and ledges of the Equitable buildings great stones, cracked loose by terrific heat and freezing water, fell constantly. The men groped for the heart of the fire in a building that was pitch dark save where the flames threw lurid splashes of red and yellow. Floors gave way with little warning. Smoke roiled thick through the corridors and overpowered men who had to be dragged to safety by comrades weakened by hours of struggling. That there was not greater loss of life surprised even Chief Kenlon.The victory he won in his first big job makes one of the finest chapters in the New York Fire Department's book of fine exploits.


For an hour and a half these terrific conditions had been unabated when at 7:00 A. M. a white pocket-handker chief which was being waved by President William Giblin of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company between the iron bars of the gate of the Broadway entrance to the deposit company's offices in the sunken ground floor two steps down from the Broadway sidewalk attracted the attention of a reporter who was standing with the Rev. Father McGean, a chaplain of the Fire Department, across the street from the burning building.

"There's somebody alive over there in the basement floor, father," the reporter said. Father McGean had heard no cries from the basement floor, but he had been hearing groans from floors above. He and Chief Kenlon ran across through the smoke and spray together. The stone lintels over doorways were crashing to the street all around the grill work opening. Already the dark opening was beginnng to be framed with a thick picture frame of ice. And for a background was a dull glare as the fire ate outward toward where the president of the company crouched against the locked grating beside Watchman William Campion, who was dead, and Watchman Wiliam Sheehan. whose right arm was pinned against the deadman by the fallen ceiling timbers that had killed Campion.


"Fireman James Dunn of Engine 6 disobeyed orders and saved President Giblin and Sheehan. When Father McGean had heard Mr. Giblin"s confession and had been pulled away from the grill by Acting Chief Devanny a watchman named Peck came up wi th two hack saws which he had found at 115 Broadway. Peck started in with one of the saws on the bars of the door and dropped the other. President Giblin reached through the bars and got hold of this saw and started to try to help Peck cut the inch and one-half bars. Mr. Giblin worked for ten minutes or until the falling water had so chilled his hands that he had to drop the saw. Peck's saw broke. " -

There was a wait of fifteen minutes while no one came near the iron door where the deadman stood frozen to the bars and the president of the company and Watchman Sheehan called on God for help. Then Fireman Jim Dunn of Engine 6 jumped up to the grating. Jim Dunn had a saw and started in to cut the bars. Somebody, a superior officer at any rate, ran up to Dunn through the falling spray and ordered Dunn to get away from the face of the building where now big chunks of stone were smashing down more frequently.

"These two fellows are alive" yelled Dunn to his chief. "I'm going to saw them out."

"Stay, then, you fool." cried the chief and got out of range of the falling stones.


For a long time then---Sheehan says it seemed about an hour, but it probably was much less---Jim Dunn sawed away. While he was working Commiddioner Johnson personally directed that a stream of water be sent in through the grating to keep back the fire, which ws creeping streetward toward where Giblin and Sheehan stood, now too cold and weak to help. The stream struck Giblin and for an instant pressed him back forcibly against the debris thast held him close to the door. And during the rest of the time the fireman was sawing the bars the stiff spray alternately was hitting Dunn and Giblin and coating them with ice.

Dunn got through a bar and found that even when it was pried to one side the imprisoned men couldn't be pulled out to the sidewalk. He patiently started at another bar. And so after an hour and a quarter of steady sawing got two bars cut through. Then he left the grill and for another ten or fifteen minutes Giblin and Sheehan waited for him to come back.


Dunn had left them only to get a crowbar to pry the cut bars aside. He stretched the bars to either side and reached in and got out first Mr. Giblin and then Sheehan. Campion evidently was dead and was left standing there. All forenoon and until dusk, through the spray two white blurs might be seen where his hands stuck outward through the bars.

Dunn, Father McGean and Commissioner Johnson carried Giblin and Sheehan across the street to the boiler room of the Trinity Building, where Dr.Thatcher Wotthen and Dr. Garrett of the Hudson street hospital and Dr. Girdansky of Govereur Hospital had established a relief station. In the hot boiler room the two men were stripped, rubbed down and drank a stimulant. The clothes of Giblin had to be cut to get them off because of the solid coating of ice. Fire Commissioner Johnson worked his own arms to break the coating of ice on his own coat sleeves, drew off his coat and then pulled off his sweater and drew it over the head of Mr. Giblin.

Mr. Giblin at the Hudson street hosspital was found to be suffering only from exposure and will be able to go home to-day unless a heavy cold or pneumonia results.

Sheehan suffered a broken right arm, the arm that had been pinned against Campion, which was set after he had recovered somewhat from his exposure and shock. Peck said that he had been behind the grill and had escaped through the Cedar street entrance at the first crash. Frank Neider, another watchman, was with him, but Peck does not know what became of Neider. He is down as missing.


Set down as it was at 120 Broadway, in the centre of the financial district, with great banks all around and itself the home of one of the biggest of all life insurance companies, the Equitable Building was even in present times something to be pointed out to the visitor.

Constructed after the fashion of the architecture of thirty years ago, it faced on Broadway and backed upon Nassau street. Across in the middle of narrow Cedar street stands the low marble Clearing House and the Chase National Bank. Across Cedar street is the American Exchange National Bank's tall building. Directly across Broadway are the twin buildings put up by the U.S. Realty Co. with an ecclesiastical suggestion in their carvings and traceries and housing the Columbia and Manhattan Trust Companies.
One of these, 115 Broadway, once contained the Carnegie Trust Company. A little further down, at Thames and Broadway, are the banking houses of Raymond Pynchon & Co. and S.B. Chapin & Co. South of the Equitable at Pine street and Broadway is the American Surety Building, with the Hanover National Bank at Nassau and Pine streets. And in Nassau street across from the rear of the Equitable are the Fourth National Bank and the Guardian Trust Company. All of these were in peril for several hours. Men were posted on the roofs to guard against settling brands.


The fire started in the rear of the Cafe Savarin, the celebrated bar and restaurant so long run by the Equitable itself and only severed from it after the insurance inquiry. An investigation last night by Fire Marshall John P. Prial, Assistant Fire Marshall Edward F. Croker and Assistant Fire Marshall Ledyard developed that it originated probably in a wooden staircase near the elevator shaft in the back of the cafe. A cigarette carelessly discarded was suggested by former Chief Croker as the origin; but E.E. Rittenhouse, speaking for President Day of the Equitable, said that the best information he could get was that the start was in a storeroom used by the Savarin and that there had been an explosion of gasoline. A gasoline stove was in the storeroom.

What angered the Fire Department heads and brought sharp comment from Croker was that there was an unnecessary delay of half an hour in summoning the firemen. The cooks of the Cafe Savarin had gone to work two hours before the alarm was turned in. They were on the job with fires going at 3:30 A.M. The first alarm was turned in at 5:31 A.M. People on the street knew a few minutes after 5 that there was a blaze somewhere in the Equitable and told policemen about it; but the policemen were told when they ran in and saw Equitable employees turning water into a blazing room, to go away---that the engine room crew could put out the fire without any help. That led to the delay of half an hour and gave the fire a chance to spread upward, mushroom through the top floors and get a downward start.


Sergt. Casey and Patrolan Foley were muffled to the chin at Pine and Nassau streets about 5:05 A.M. when a man wgo had run, they thought afterward, out of Equitable Building told them that the building was on fire. Casey and Foley hustled around the corner to the Pine Street side, which was occupied by the Cafe Savarin. Going through the restaurant they pushed aside flustered cooks and made their way to the rear, where they found William Davis, the chief engineer of the building, and four of his men spilling water into a small room that was thick with smoke. The room adjoined an elevatot shaft near the corner of Pine and Nassau. Davis had two linews of hose connected with the standpipe and was working desperately. He resented the intrusion of the policemen.

"What are you doing here? " he asked, according to Carey's story. "We don't need you people butting in here. We can put this out ourselves. We've got good apparatus and there are twenty men on hand to help me."

Casey didn't like the look of things. Without arguing any more with the chief engineer he walked outside with Foley and lingered near the corner. In fifteen minutes he saw flames licking out of the top floor windows. The fire was nearly to the roof. Then Casey ran to the box at Pine and Nassau and turned in the first alarm.The fire had been going fifteen minutes at least.


Deputy Chief Binns, head of the first division, saw the minute he jumped out of his automobile that there was a big fight ahead. Binns shot in a second alarm at 5:53 A.M. and a thirs at 6:01 A.M. That thrilled through the whole Fire Department and woke up the whole Police Department as well. Fire Chief Kenlon got to the Equitable just after the third alarm. Kenlon saw the flames flowering on the Equitable roof and sent in fourth and fifth alarms at 6:03 A.M. and 6:18 A.M. That meant that all apparatus south of Fifty-ninth street was to make record time to Broadway and Pine street. Police Commissioner Waldo arrived a few minutes later and took personal direction of the police guard.

It was as dark at 6: o'clock as it had been in the middle of the night. Engines collected in narrow Nassau, and Cedar streets and hose was rigged hastily. There was barely room in which to swing around a team. The horses, scrambling desperately over the icy pavements and frightened by the falling stones and firebrands, plunged and tried their best to break away. Water cascaded and froze on their backs. As rapidly as possible the teams were unhitched, led to quiet streets and blanketed against the cold.


Chief Kenlon, his face crusted with ice, his hands blocks of ice and his slicker silvered from frozen particles, entered
the Equitable a few minutes after he arrived to try and determine the course of the fire and to see if any of the employees had been imprisoned by the flames. He made his way up to the sixth floor but was driven back by the overpowering heat. The chief saw then that it would be impossible to save the building and that the best to be done was to confine the fire and keep it from sweeping across the narrow streets to the neighboring banks. The chief's experience told him that there had been too much delay. The fire, starting in the southewest corner of the building, had rushed upward through the elevator shaft and had then spread over the top floor, working first along Pine street toward Broadway and then carrying backward toward Nassau stret under the drive of a northwest wind.

At 7:48 A.M. Chief Kenlon summoned help from Brooklyn. Deputy Chief Lally rushed nine engines, four trucks and a water tower across the Brooklyn Bridge and had his force at work by 8:15. The Brooklyn firefighters got busy in nassau street trying to save the northeast extension of the Equitable Building, a seven story red brick and stone structure occupied by August Belmont & Co. and W.A. Read & Co., bankers. They flooded it and saved most of it.


All around the Equitable windows had been broken by the heat or by the impact of water. Through these whirled clouds of papers and documents that the unbarred winds had caught up from desks or broken cases. People ccrossing the Brooklyn Bridge about 7:30 o'clock witnessed a curious phenomenon. The northwest gale, humming at a sixty mile an hour clip, was burdoned with these bits of paper. The swept across the river, whirling high in the air. Brooklyn residents picked up later half burned and cancelled checks the firm name of August Belmont & Co. or documents that had been torn by the wind from other offices in the building. The streets around the burning building were littered with charred and soggy banking or commercial paper, mostly cancelled.

With all the force he could handle in such small streets, the twenty-six Manhattan and the nine Brooklyn engines, together with the water towers, trucks and fuel carts, Chief Kenlon attacked the fire from four sides. He placed two hose lines in the Singer Towerand shot great streams over Broadway against the upper stories of the Equitable. These dislodged large blocks of crumbling stone which fell and dashed to bits in Pine street. One of these just grazed the shoulder of Felix Bertine, proprietor of the Red Lion cafe, who was trying to get into his place of business across Pine street. Hose lines were directed from the upper floors of the American Exchange Bank at Broadway and Cedar street. An attack was made on the southwest corner from the Hanover Bank Building, while the Brooklyn men at the northeast corner fought with their water tower and carried lines of hose into the Belmont and Read offices. But the Brooklyn tower had no luck. Twenty minutes after it was put into service it stuck in the freezing...ending torrents froze its joints...have taken hours to unlimber the kinks. They left in where it was all day.


While Chief Kenlon was assembling his apparatus the great crwod already collected on Broadway north and south of the police lines saw three men appear on the roof at the northweat corner. They were Massena Fratta, a porter employed in the building, who lived at 225 East Fifty-sixth street; Giuseppe Condi, a kitchen helper in the Cafe Savarin, and John Sazzio, also employed in the Savarin kitchen. These men had been prevented by the flames, it was supposed, from reaching any of the ground floor exits and had doubtless gone up to the roof in an elevator hoping to be rescued by the firemen.

The fire was still some distance from the Cedar street corner and their figures were silhouetted blackly against the leaping flames and the red glow in the sky. They waved their arms frantically and appeared to be shouting. Two of them knelt presently on the cornice. It seemed to people in the street as if the men were praying.

Chief Devanny, the first fire officer to see the refugees, called for volunteers. Nine men sprang forward. Chief Kenlon, hurrying up, ordered an extension ladder rigged in the bare hope that the men could be saved. The firemen put up the ladder section by section, but it fell short two stories. It was impossible to get to the three that way. Women who were serving coffee and sandwiches to the firemen to the firemen and police wept as they looked upward and went about their duty with tears freezing on their cheeks. Firemen were swearing, not profanely, but mechanically. men in the watching crowds clinched their hands and groaned. Appeals were shouted to knelon, to Binns, to Devanny to save the three on the roof.

"For God's sake, chief, get to them some way!" cried a young woman who was carrying a pail of coffee among the firemen.


Kenlon saw that scaling ladders could not be used because of the heavy ornamental coping that faced the building twenty feet or so below the roof. He resolved on an expediant that hadn't been used since the Parker Building fire. From the roof of the American Exchange National Bank, a small line was shot across to the Equitable roof. One of the three caught it and pulled over a heavier line. There wasn't much time to waste. The fire was travelling fast toward the three. Below them flames were leaping out of the windows of the sixth and seventh stories. Two of the men fastened the line around their waist, threw their arms around each other and prepared to swing over the side. The third apparently lost his nerve when his companions urged him to secure himself with them. It made no difference. They were doomed anyway. As the firemen on the roof of the American Exchange National Bank began to draw on the line, ready to tighten it when the two swung clear, a tongue of flame leaped from the seventh story windows, enveloped the line and destroyed it. The two on the edge of the roof overbalanced, fell to Cedar street and were killed instantly.

The third was Massena Fratta, the porter. As his companions fell to their death Fratta was seen crouching in the smoke, but distinctly outlined against the fierce glow. Presnetly he arose, threw his hands in the air, stepped backward and disappeared. In the afternoon, his feet and hands and face frozen, but still breathing in spite of desperate hurts, Fratta was found in the wreckage of the fifth floor. He was hurt internally, his skull was fractured and one leg was broken. The doctors gave him brandy and a heart stimulabt abd started with him for St. Gregory's Hospital, but he died on the way.


These tragic episodes were forgotten for the time at least in the savage energy of the fire fighting. It was not long though before the firemen heard that one of their number, the veteran Battalion Chief Walsh was dead somewhere in the ruins. Walsh had been hard at work since early in the morning. Directing a line of hose, he had gone with nine men to the fourth floor and at 8 o'clock was seen not only by his men but by others leading the fight in the front of the building. Then Joe Broome of Truck 61 went to Chief Kenlon and said he believed Walsh had been killed when part of the fourth floor gave way. Kenlon turned the active command of the department over to Deputy Chief Binns and organized a search for Walsh. He heard from Capt. Sidney Johnson of Fire Patrol 1 that the battalion chief had made an effort to get up to the rooms occupied by the Lawyers'Club on the fifth floor. Up there the building was a red hell. Walsh told Capt. Johnson that he intended to take hose up there and see if he couldn't check the fire's advance toward the front of the building. Half way up the stairs to the fifth floor a back draft dashed a wall of flame across their path. Walsh, who was leading his men by twenty steps, threw up his hands, Johnson said, and cried:

"Get back! Get back! For God's sake, get back!"


Then Johnson heard a crash which he supposed meant that a floor had given way. He retreated to the third floor and then went cautiously up the stairway again shouting for Walsh. There was no answer. Johnson had to grab one of Walsh's men around the waist and struggle with him to keep him from venturing into the flame-swept fourth floor.

The men who had been with Battalion Chief Walsh told Kenlon that they felt the floor giving way under them. There

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was a rending of timbers and a sagging underfoot, Capt. Bass was in the the rail of a stone arch in the stairway. There was so much smoke that the men couldn't see Walsh, who was some distance ahead of them. They heard his loud cry of warning, but when they shouted to him afterward there was no response. Like Johnson of the fire patrol they thought that Walsh had been carried down by a falling floor and that he was buried in the wreckage somewhere between the third and fourth floors. The interior was inextricably jumbled there, a formless mass of twisted steel, shattered stone, broken brick and charred wood.

Chief Kenlon did not give up hope until late in the afternoon when it became certain that no man could have kept alive in the terrrrific heat and dense smoke. As rapidly as he beat down the fire Kenlon had men with crowbars and hooks to pry away fallen wreckage, hoping to recover Walsh's body.

Toward evening he got the notion that the dead man was buried somewhere on the ground floor near the center of the building, where the Equitable's four wings joined to make a cross. For hours a party of firemen digged near the site of the bronze statue of Henry Baldwin Hyde, founder of the society and father of James Hazen hyde. The satue, of enormous weight, had sunk through the ground floor into the basement when the floor supports and tiling collapsed. But up to late last night Walsh's body had not been found.


The perils of the work ran up the list of injured rapidly. In addition to Capt. Bass's injury, Lieut. Humphreys of Truck 1 was knocked down by a falling stone. Humphreys was knocked unconconcious. An ambulance took him to his company headquarters. Chunks of masonry detached from the cornice and copings exposed the firemen constantly to grave danger. Daniel McVey of Engine Company 107 was hit and hurtabout the legs. Half a dozen others were knocked out of the fight in the same way. The policemen, standing shoulder to shoulder with the firemen, were exposed to the same perils.

One man went insane, temporarily at any rate, from the shock of seeing a body crash into the street beside him. Timothy Manning of Truck 6 was the man.

Of the Equitable and Savarin employees who were in the building when the fire started most escaped without difficulty. A few had had terrifying experiences. Gustav Peterson, a day watchman, had gone to the basement to change into his uniform. A negro named Leo Delk was with him. While they were below the ceilling of the basement collapsed and their way out was blocked. They managed to get out finally by crawling under the Broadway sidewalk extension, breaking glass disks in the sidewalk and so attracting the attention of the police. The firemen smashed in the sidewalk and made a hole large enough to let Peterson and Delk out.


Handicapped by the piercing wind through the skyscraper canyons and by the freezing cold, Chief Kenlon and his men battled for five hours before they were sure they had the fire under control.

They were supplied with coffee and sandwiches by the staffs who got supplies from nearby restaurants. Bankers and businessmen in the district donated money to pay for the supplies... in dangerous places from which they were warned...They made the front steps of the Realty Trust Building their headquarters.

Shortly after Kenlon ended the biggest fire of his chiefship the wrecked structure began to asssume the appearence that made it a wonderful spectacle to see. From street to roof, on all four sides were sheathed gorgeously in ice. The frosting refracted sunlight in rainbow colors and took on grotesque and curious aspects at the corners where there were ornamental projections..were to be made out. Beards of ice depended from the copings. The handsome ancient exterior of which H.B. Hyde was so proud was a framework of delicate tracery, with the legend "120 Broadway" standing out clearly in gold letters on a background of silver. The building was solidly massed in ice. From the Broadway side it appeared that the steel girders and the fireproof brick construction had not duffered much. On the Broadway side the floors were intact, but they were fallen away in places on the Cedar and Nassau streets sides and in the centre of the building.


The two searchlights that usually drive their shafts at night high above the tower of the Singer Building were put to work last night to help the firemen. They brightened the face of the ruined Equitable Building just above the sidewalk where the scattering showers of the hose were pierced with crystals, they lighted the cornices straigt up to the roof and they plunged into the interior until the windows were jack-o'-lanterned into relief.

At 10 o'clock twenty firemen were sent up to the second floor of the burned building on the Nassau street side, where it was easier to move about, and began chopping a path through and up to the centre of the third floor, where it was expected that Chief Walsh's body might be found.

Deputy Chief Binns, frozen into a tightly buttoned coat that reached to his ears, stood opposite the main door and looked up under his white helmet at the ...cascades.

"What chance would there be of getting anything out of there tonight?" one man asked Binns.

"Not a chance in the world," said he. "We're going to be here all night and probably a lot longer. If you think're wrong."

As he spoke a glassy screen of ice over the bars of the Mercantile Safe Deposit Company's door across the street glowed a dull red. The play of water all day long had frozen upon these bars and had merged from one to the next until it lay continuously oveer the whole face of the appeture.

When the red showed behind the door Binn hailed out an order and the firemen holding the nozzle in the middle of the street, switched it. But apparently only a trickle went into the room that had flared up.

As the searchlights were swerved this way and that little jets of flame appeared in the shadows. The streams of light were kept in motion so that too much light shouldn't blind the firemen to the lesser glow in the shadows. Every time a flare appeared and there were many at times through the evening, it was the target for the firemen. The fight was one that kept hundred along the sidewalks. It ...


In the...of the evening representatives of the financial institutions came and pounded their feet on the pavements
looking for the first opportunity to enter the building and look at the vaults. But there were policemen strung straight
around the block with the exception of the Nassau street side, where the square between Cedar and Pine was cut off for everyone except the firemen. Even on the
... the width of the street had to be divided between the bank watchers and their...

There were also a lot of men on hand to look out for the interests of the firms having offices in 115 Broadway. They go after their employ-
...the first hint of crumbling
...walls across the street. But they
spent most of the evening in the vestibule
...the relays of firemen coming in
...sandwiches and hot coffee.
..a glow popped out in one room
...late in the evening. Occa-
string of three or four lighted
..showed when some...of
....just caught fire. There were
...light along the window casings
..along the Pine street corner.
...guard securities and other prop-
erty within the Equitable Building Company.
...Waldo assigned 100 men to patrol the block last night. At the same time forty detectives were told off to remain on duty all night in the financial district. In addition to this, Inspector Hughes will be in charge of three squads of twelve men each, who will be on duty at the burned building for twenty-four hours.

At 10:30 o'clock, flame began to flicker again in the fifth story of the Equitable Trust Building, already pretty well burned out, and Chief Binns led a weary band of fighters up to the sixth floor of the Hanover Bank Building, across the way. From the windows they poured water across Pine street into the Equitable Trust building.

Ten engines were playing on the ruins at midnight.

A little after midnight, Deputy Chief Binns called off the men who were searching for the body of Chief Walsh. The men were thickly covered in ice and thoroughly chilled. Binns said he would get to work again at daybreak.

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