Sep 4, 2009

Stampede in Ravenna !!

Grand Rapids Press December 17, 1904, Grand Rapids, Michigan:

Ravenna Playhouse the Scene of a Wild Stampede.

Large Barn in the Neighborhood Burned and Light Reflected on Windows.
(Special to the Evening Press.)
Ravenna. Dec. 17- The large frame barn of Fred H. Brown, on the outskirts of this town, burned to the ground last night, making a tremendous blaze. There was a show going on at the opera house at the time and the place was packed. The light from the burning barn reflected on the opera house windows and some individual in the rear of the hall yelled “fire!”

Instantly the place was in an uproar, and men, women, and children climbed over seats and over each other in the mad rush for the doors. Some one with presence of mind had thrown the doors open, and those who reached the doors first gained the street safely. When the main body of the audience began crowding a congestion occurred at the doors. Scores of persons were knocked down and trampled upon. When it was discovered that the fire was not in the building the excitement subsided somewhat, and the hall was soon empted. It is considered a miracle that no one was seriously if not fatally injured. Many bore bad bruises and suffered from the trampling they had received.

The Brown barn, which was one of the largest in this neighborhood, was totally destroyed, together with one horse, three cows 350 bushels of oats, fifteen tons of hay, and farm implements. The loss is estimated at $2500, with $800 insurance. One horse was saved. The origin of the fire is unknown.

Transcribed by Holly Spencer

Fred H. Brown listed in the 1900 census Ravenna, Michigan:
Fred H. Brown, head of household, white male, born Nov 1861 in Michigan, age 38, widowed, Father born Rhode Island Mother New York, Farmer, can read write and speak English, Farm owned Free, Farm #250 on schedule.

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