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The Great Fire of 1888

The night Callicoon’s business district burned

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 6/10/20

CALLICOON, NY — It started between midnight and 1 a.m. on a bitterly cold February night, according to J.S. Graham’s Callicoon Historian.

Fires were nothing new, of course; buildings …

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looking back

The Great Fire of 1888

The night Callicoon’s business district burned

Posted

CALLICOON, NY — It started between midnight and 1 a.m. on a bitterly cold February night, according to J.S. Graham’s Callicoon Historian.

Fires were nothing new, of course; buildings burned down all the time. This one took out much of Lower Main Street, which means that a fair number of Callicoon’s historic buildings date from that year since everything needed to be rebuilt. 

That February night, the 28th, Graham writes, the fire started in the Eickhoff store (now 35 Lower Main). The fire burned fast and spread rapidly. “The terrified people hardly had time to rush from their homes before the flames engulfed them. They stood in their nightclothes and watched everything they had burn to the ground.” 

Graham listed the families and business owners affected: the Everards, Arthur Eickhoff, John Dycker, Mrs. Traynor, C.F. Starck, the Rupperts, the Metzgers and Mrs. Best. 

But people carried on. That year, everything was rebuilt, Graham wrote, “with finer stores and more beautiful homes,” many of which can be seen today. 

Random fact: Adam Metzger ran a shoe shop in Callicoon until 1911, the year before he died. He is noted as one of the first residents of the area.

Thank you to The Echo, the newsletter of the Basket Historical Society, which ran the excerpt from the Callicoon Historian and contributed the photo.

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